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Israel to remove all countries from 'red list' this evening; Foreigners may return on Sunday

Skies to be fully reopened in both directions next week after six-week closure

Passengers at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Aug. 5, 2021. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israel will fully reopen to fully-vaccinated and recovered travelers from abroad – including the United States and the United Kingdom – from Sunday. 

And at midnight, all travel restrictions will be lifted for Israelis as Israel drops its “red” list.

The news comes on the same day Israel hit an all-time high in COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began.

The government closed the borders to foreigners on Nov. 28 in a swift and last-minute decision to try to prevent the Omicron variant from entering the country. It turned out to already be here and has been spreading since.

Nevertheless, “Israel will end restrictions on international travel in the coming hours, (Health Ministry) Director-General Nachman Ash said Thursday, as coronavirus rates in the country spiked to record levels, making the impact of the travel bans negligible,” the Times of Israel reported.

Ash predicted that daily new cases will hit 30,000 in just a few days and 50,000 within a week, which is in line with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's prediction.

The requirements for foreigners will be the same as they were before the previous border closure: Tourists must fill out a health declaration in advance, take a COVID test before boarding their plane and provide proof of being fully vaccinated within the previous six months, recovered plus one shot or recovered within the last six months.

Dov Lipman, founder of NGO Yad L’Olim, has been advocating for new immigrants who have been stymied by the onerous travel restrictions for both Israelis and foreigners alike. Lipman praised the government's decision, but will continue to push for more easing of restrictions for family members.

“We still have more work to do including making sure that emergency travel is still possible for the unvaccinated, finding ways to allow those who have antibodies from recovery to enter, and to plan for a better plan if there are variants in the future,” Lipman said.

Read more: TOURISM

Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.

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