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United States warns against travel to Israel amid Omicron surge

The CDC placed Israel in its highest risk assessment and urged U.S. citizens to avoid travel 

Passengers at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Dec. 22, 2021. (Photo: Flash90)

The United States on Tuesday warned its citizens of traveling to Israel due to a “very high level” of COVID-19 in the Jewish state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) placed Israel in its top risk assessment category, as a “Level 4” destination. 

Another 21 countries were added to the list, among them Australia, Egypt, Albania, Argentina and Uruguay. Overall, around 100 countries are currently in the Level 4 risk category. 

The CDC recommends avoiding travel to such destinations if possible. If travel is necessary, Americans are urged to make sure that vaccinations are up to date. 

Israel reopened its borders to some foreign tourists earlier this month. Last year saw an all-time low for the country’s tourism industry with only 400,000 visitors. That is 90% less than 2019, which was a record year for number of incoming tourists to Israel. 

““The agenda of the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Yoel Razvozov, is to promote Israel to the faith based audiences, and many resources are being shifted to allow swift and convenient access to the Holy sites," Kobby Barda, deputy director general of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, told ALL ISRAEL NEWS. 

"In respect to current COVID-19 situation, Israel is classified in category 4 by the CDC, but so are the majority of the countries around the world," he continued. "This situation is temporary, and will improve in next few days as the Omicron rates will fall. We here in the Holy Land are excited and invite the Christian travelers to visit Israel, in accordance to the visitor's guidelines."

Israel set another record of new daily COVID cases on Tuesday with more than 71,000. Since the beginning of January, more than 532,777 people have tested positive. Close to 500 Israelis are hospitalized in serious condition. Local health experts expect the spread of the virus to slow down within the next seven to 10 days.

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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