Opening of borders to vaccinated tourists, scheduled for July 1, delayed until August

New coronavirus cabinet established; Israeli Covid restrictions loom as cases with Delta variant increase.

By World Israel News Staff

Amid a rising number of Covid cases, Israel postponed plans to reopen the country to vaccinated tourists and re-established its coronavirus cabinet.

On Tuesday, 110 new cases were reported, the highest number in two months. Among them, 64 were children or teenagers and 14 had returned from abroad. Nine of the 14 had been vaccinated.

Israeli health officials said 70 percent of the cases were of the Delta variant, which originated in India and accounts for 20 percent of the new cases in the U.S.

There are currently 554 active cases in Israel.

The Health Ministry’s head of public health, Sharon Alroy-Preis, told Hebrew media that the Delta variant entered Israel “because people didn’t keep quarantine instructions.”

Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy said the rising number of cases was concerning and warranted new measures, “but I wouldn’t rush to declare waves.”

A Ministry of Health directive authorized senior Israeli officials to demand that vaccinated individuals self-isolate if they come in contact with people who have the Delta variant or if they are in regular contact with people who are at high risk for the variant.

The government also re-established the coronavirus cabinet. It will include Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton, Justice Minister Gideon Saar, Economy Minister Orna Barbivai, Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahane, among other ministers.

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Bennett has already urged Israelis not to travel abroad unnecessarily. The Delta variant “infects much more quickly than the variant we are familiar with, the original coronavirus,” Bennett said. “Another characteristic of the Delta variant is that it also infects people who have been vaccinated.”

Israel currently bans travel to Argentina, Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa. Visiting one of those countries without getting permission from a government committee would result in a fine.