Israel holds concerts for vaccinated Tel Aviv residents

People wearing face masks during a music concert after showing their coronavirus vaccination certificate in Tel Aviv, on Feb 24, 2021.
People wearing face masks during a music concert after showing their coronavirus vaccination certificate in Tel Aviv, on Feb 24, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TEL AVIV (AFP) - Hundreds of people vaccinated against Covid-19 packed a Tel Aviv football stadium Friday (March 5) for the first of four concerts organised by the municipality, as Israel eases virus restrictions.

The 500 fans wore masks and sat in the central section of the 30,000-seat capacity Bloomfield Stadium to attend a performance by Israeli pop star Ivri Lider.

"This is really cool. I am so happy," said Ms Reut Gofer, as she arrived at the venue.

"I hope this is the beginning of a period when we will return to our normal life," she added.

Israel in February began easing restrictions following a third lockdown, and has since gradually re-opened shopping malls, gyms, swimming pools, hotels and some cultural facilities.

But in most cases, the return to normality has been reserved for people who have been fully vaccinated, under a so-called "green badge" scheme.

Israel is among the world leaders in Covid-19 vaccinations per capita.

More than half of the country's nine million-strong population have already received the two recommended doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine since the inoculation drive began in December.

"Since a majority of the population has already been vaccinated... we can finally open up our cultural and leisure activities," said Mr Eytan Shwartz, a spokesman for the Tel Aviv municipality.

"I hope that soon we will be able to fill up the (Bloomfield) stadium," he added.

Israel has registered more than 796,000 cases of Covid-19, including over 5,800 deaths.