Israel reopens borders to vaccinated, recovered tourists despite Covid surge

Jerusalem, Jan 9 (EFE).- Israel on Sunday reopened its borders to foreign tourists who are either fully vaccinated against or have recently recovered from Covid-19, ending a travel ban that had been in place since November to slow an Omicron-driven surge of infections.

Visitors to Israel must have recovered from the virus in the last six months or be at least double jabbed with any of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), or the Russian-made Sputnik V.

Tourists entering the country are also required to show a negative coronavirus test carried out within 72 hours before their trip and take another at the airport upon arrival.

All arrivals, including Israeli citizens, must take a PCR test at the airport upon arrival and quarantine for up to 24 hours or until they receive negative test result.

Although the new entry rules were initially expected to exclude tourists traveling from countries classified as high risk such as Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom, the Israeli authorities on Thursday removed all nations on its no-fly “red” list of countries.

This means Israeli citizens and permanent residents are no longer banned from traveling to and from countries with high coronavirus rates without special permission.

The easing of restrictions comes despite the daily coronavirus cases, which have been soaring to record highs across Israel.

The Israeli health ministry Sunday registered some 17,521 new infections within the past 24 hours, a number considered high compared to previous waves but slightly lower than the almost 19,000 recorded Saturday.

The rate of critically ill patients, however, remains low, with only 205 admitted to a hospital with a serious condition.

Some six million of Israel’s 9.4 million people are fully vaccinated, with 4.2 million inoculated with a third booster shot.EFE


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