The country had planned to reopen last July, but the spread of the Delta variant forced a continuation of its closure to foreign citizens who did not receive a special exemption to enter Israel.
By Gil Tanenbaum, TPS
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Nitsan Minister Horowitz and Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov attended a meeting Thursday to ratify a new policy for the entrance of non-Israeli citizens into the country, specifically those people seeking tourist visas.
The meeting came after health authorities uncovered five additional cases of people in Israel who were infected with the new Covid AY4.2 variant. There are now six confirmed cases.
Notwithstanding these new cases, Israel is planning to reopen the country to foreign tourists as of November 1. The country had planned to reopen last July, but the spread of the Delta variant forced a continuation of its closure to foreign citizens who did not receive a special exemption to enter Israel.
On Tuesday, an 11-year-old boy who returned from a trip abroad was the first to test positive for the new variant, which until recently had been classified the same as the Delta variant.
The Ministry of Health’s genetic sequencing laboratory then conducted a review of Coronavirus cases going back several months and checked all of the sequences of positive tests that were classified as the Delta variant. This led to the discovery of the five additional cases of AY4.2.
At Thursday’s meeting, a new plan for the November reopening was approved. Its guidelines will soon be brought to the full cabinet for approval.
The following persons are eligible to enter Israel in the framework of the plan:
Foreign nationals who have been inoculated with two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna Covid vaccines, and one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least seven days prior to their day of entry into Israel. They may not remain in the country for more than 180 days after their last vaccination.
This also applies to foreign nationals who have been inoculated with the Pfizer booster and at least seven days have passed on the day of their entering Israel, or those who have been inoculated with the Moderna, Sinovac Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson booster at least 14 days prior to entering Israel;
Foreign nationals who have recovered from COVID-19 and who present proof of the results of a positive NAAT test at least 11 days prior to their day of entry into Israel may stay in the country no more than 180 days after the vaccination;
Foreign nationals who have recovered from COVID-19 and have received at least one dose of the WHO-approved vaccines;
Groups exempted from quarantine on the basis of their functioning like a “capsule” that stays together within their own group will be allowed admission if they have been inoculated with a WHO-approved vaccine. These groups will not have leisure time and their movement will be restricted in areas in which there is an increased risk of infection.
Up to 2,000 tourists in a capsule per day will be allowed admission to Israel (a more stringent plan will apply to mixed groups).
If a visitor remains in the country for more than 14 days, then he or she must submit to either an antigen test or a PCR test every two days.
These guidelines are limited to tourists who have not been in red countries or countries under severe travel warnings in the 14 days prior to entering Israel.