Bennett approves plan to let tourists into Israel beginning Nov. 1

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the Health and Tourism ministries approved a plan on Thursday to allow vaccinated and recovered tourists into the country beginning November 1, despite a revelation that at least a handful of cases of the new AY4.2 variant have entered Israel in the last few days.
According to the plan, which still must be ratified by the full government, tourists who have been vaccinated with the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines within the last six months will be able to enter the country.

The approved vaccines are only those that are recognized by the World Health Organization. As such, Russia’s Sputnik V is not included. 

Specifically, individuals who took the Pfizer vaccine are eligible to enter if at least seven days have passed since receiving the second dose and no more than 180 days. 

For those who took the other vaccines, 14 days need to have passed and no more than 180.

Also, anyone who received a booster shot of these vaccines within the last six months will also be able to come to Israel.

Jerusalem resident Klara Brieff is seen getting the third COVID-19 vaccine at a Meuhedet clinic, on August 1, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Jerusalem resident Klara Brieff is seen getting the third COVID-19 vaccine at a Meuhedet clinic, on August 1, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Furthermore, recovered individuals who can show that they tested positive at least 11 days prior to entering Israel and no more than 180 days ago are also eligible to enter. If more than six months have passed and these individuals receive a booster, they can also enter the country.

All travelers will be required to take a PCR test within 72 hours of boarding the plane and upon arrival. They will also be required to stay in isolation until the results of the test come back negative.

However, these tourists will not be required to take a serological test to show that they have been vaccinated. Until now, any individual who was vaccinated abroad and managed to enter the country had to take one of these blood tests.

Anyone who qualifies to enter the country will also receive a Green Pass and be able to enter restaurants, cafes and other places of leisure where this pass is required during the duration of their stay.

Children under the age of 12, who are currently not eligible to be vaccinated, will not be able to enter Israel unless they have recovered from the virus within the last six months.

THE US Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing data provided by Pfizer on a vaccination protocol for kids ages 5-11. The regulatory organization is supposed to make a decision about giving young children the vaccine by the beginning of next month.

Earlier this week, the White House put out its own outline for how youth vaccination would work in the United States.

Furthermore, the group tourism outline will be expanded, also on November 1.

These are groups that receive approval to enter Israel from the Tourism Ministry. All travelers must be vaccinated by a vaccine that is approved by the World Health Organization. 

The group will function in Israel like a “capsule,” meaning that group members are only in contact with the people in their group. These groups will not have free time outside of the group, and their movement will be restricted in areas where there is an increased risk of infection.

Up to 2,000 travelers approved by the Tourism Ministry can enter the country every day. None of the members of the groups could have been in a “red” country with high infection within 14 days of coming to Israel.

The statement regarding individual travel did not clarify which documents travelers will be requested to present in order to prove their immunization status, or how the procedure is going to work.

Up until now, Israel has not officially recognized any foreign-issued documentation for entry and has been requiring the limited number of travelers who are allowed into the country to undergo a serological test to prove the presence of antibodies in the blood.

However, last month, Israel reached a deal to join the European Union’s digital COVID certificate program, ensuring mutual recognition of green passes with around 40 other countries.

For other nations which do not issue similar electronic documents – like the United States – visitors are supposed to be able to enter Israel with their own health declaration, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of Public Health Services at the Health Ministry, said last week.

“They are going to get in with their own declaration of vaccination,” she said in a conversation with The Jerusalem Post at its annual conference. “Once they get in, they have to submit their vaccination status and their certificates. A percentage of them will be inspected.”

Israeli borders have been closed to foreign nationals for a year and a half, since the beginning of the pandemic, with very limited exceptions. Since May, vaccinated or recovered first-degree relatives of Israelis have been allowed in, but only providing that they obtain approval from the Population Authority at the Interior Ministry or from the Foreign Ministry.

The procedure to apply and receive such approvals has been burdensome and unreliable – with many people forced to cancel or reschedule their trips due to the delay by the Israeli authorities in responding to their applications.

The Prime Minister’s Office has already said in its announcement that it will be monitoring the AY4.2 variant and could update the plan if necessary.

Source link