On Thursday, ministers decided to open Israel’s borders to tourists from November 1st, as long as they are vaccinated against the coronavirus, or have recovered from it. However, the Prime Minister’s Office elaborated that tourists would only be permitted from countries who are not categorized as ‘red’ because of high infection rates. Furthermore, reports indicated that tourists from countries where there has been an outbreak of the new coronavirus variant, AY4.2, will also not be permitted. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in Israel last year in March, most of the tourists have been effectively banned from coming into the country.
Throughout this year, they have delayed the reopening of borders several times, due to waning and waxing coronavirus infections. According to the PMO, the plan still needs to be approved by the coronavirus cabinet and will also be updated in accordance with new developments relating to the sub-variant. On Thursday, health officials disclosed after diagnosing the first case of the new variant on Tuesday, five more cases had been identified. This new strain of the Delta variant had been discovered recently in the United Kingdom as well as some Eastern European countries. The CDC also confirmed on Wednesday that the first case had also been found in the United States.
As per the new regulations, tourists will only be allowed to enter Israel if they have been vaccinated within 180 days of boarding the flight. As far as the Pfizer vaccine is concerned, the traveler should have gotten their second or third shot at least seven days before they board the plane. As far as other vaccinations, such as AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson (two doses) are concerned, 14 days have to pass. Under the existing regulations, tourists had begun coming into the country in May in organized groups, but the number was very limited.
Furthermore, first-degree relatives of residents or citizens of Israel were also able to get permits and come to the country. The current as well as new regulations dictate that travelers have to take a PCR test before their departure as well as upon their arrival in Israel. Vaccinated travelers have to stay in quarantine until they get a negative test result or for 24 hours. Those who haven’t gotten vaccinated will have to stay in quarantine for 14 days, which can be reduced to seven days if they get two negative tests on Day 1 and Day 7.
During the meeting on Thursday, ministers decided to not accept the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and a couple more days were requested by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for weighing the issue. There is a possibility that he will announce the recognition of the vaccine during his Friday meeting with Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, in Sochi. Reports earlier this week had said that Israeli officials were planning to recognize the controversial Russian vaccine that had been launched in August 2020 and was named after the first satellite in the world that symbolizes the scientific prowess of Russia.