Sweden and Portugal ban Israeli travelers due to Holy Land COVID surge
Other European Union countries are expected to adopt the ban on Israelis
Is Israel getting a taste of its own medicine? After banning foreigners and stalling the tourism industry for more than 15 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Israelis have now found themselves on the "unwanted list" of a growing number of European nations.
Sweden was the first to announce its ban on all Israelis – including vaccinated citizens – followed by Portugal today. Holland has banned unvaccinated Israelis from its borders.
Other European Union countries are expected to adopt the ban on Israelis.
Despite vaccination levels in Israel being among the world’s highest, a fourth wave of COVID-19 has set new daily infection records this week. The surge comes a month into Israel's booster shot campaign and the implementation of the green passport which requires proof of vaccination, COVID recovery or a negative COVID test in order to enter most indoor venues.
The extra shot and the restrictions have seemingly done little to staunch the spread of the virus.
The sudden ban comes as Israel has actually eased its quarantine rules for Israelis who have received their third shot. For nearly a month now, all travelers from most countries were required to quarantine a minimum of seven days in Israel. But beginning today, thrice-injected Israeli citizens will be exempt from quarantine.
Many believe this most recent change in policy is a way to motivate those who have hesitated to get the third shot, especially as Israelis gear up to travel for the upcoming holidays beginning with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) on Monday.
While more than 6 million Israelis have received at least one dose of the Pfizer mRNA injection, 5.5 million have gotten two and now 2.5 million already got their third.
Israel is currently the only country in the world offering the booster shot to all eligible age groups, from 12 years old and up. The Cabinet has ruled that as of Oct. 1, the green passport will apply only to those who have received three shots or are still within six months from their second shot or recovery from COVID.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.