Israel to reopen to vaccinated tourists on January 9

Jerusalem, Jan 3 (EFE).- Israel on Monday unveiled its plans to reopen borders to allow tourists fully vaccinated against coronavirus to enter the country as of January 9.

International travel in Israel was barred in November due to a surge in infections driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The new entry rules exclude tourists traveling from countries classified as high risk such as Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom. Israeli citizens will need a special permit to return to their homeland from these areas.

The Israeli ministry of health also agreed to reduce the quarantine period for those returning from countries classified as moderate risk until they show a negative result of the mandatory test carried out at Ben Gurion Airport before entering the country.

Israel said it registered more than 6,500 infections within the past 24 hours, the highest number since September.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Sunday that cases could rise up to 20,000 in the coming days and encouraged those unvaccinated to get immunized.

Last week, the Israeli government also approved a fourth vaccine dose for people over the age of 60, as well as healthcare personnel.

Over the past few weeks, there has been a growing debate over whether health authorities would change their measures in place to tackle the pandemic since the Omicron seems to cause milder forms of illness compared to older Covid-19 variants.

Nevertheless, Israel last week reintroduced mandatory use of face masks outdoors, limited public gatherings to 50 people and required a green pass for events with 100 people or more.

Some six million of Israel’s over nine million people are fully vaccinated, with 4.2 million inoculated with the third booster shot.

In efforts to promote vaccination, the government has said that those who receive the first vaccine shot will be able to get a green pass, which gives access to certain spaces and events for a period of 30 days. EFE


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