10-22-2021 CBN News Jerusalem Emily Jones
JERUSALEM, Israel – After sealing its borders to most visitors for a year and a half, Israel will open up to fully vaccinated tourists and those who have recovered from COVID-19 beginning on Nov. 1.
The Prime Minister’s Office announced the decision on a Thursday, but said the plan still needs formal approval. The plan could change “in accordance with the development and identification of new variants.”
Tourists have been effectively banned from the country since the pandemic began. However, Israel began allowing entry to organized tour groups this summer. Those visitors must take coronavirus tests before boarding their flight to Israel, upon arrival, and before they leave the country.
The new decision will allow tourists to travel to Israel on their own without the need to travel with a group.
According to the new regulations, only tourists who were fully vaccinated less than six months ago, or who have recently received a booster shot will be allowed to enter. Those who recovered from the disease within the last six months will be permitted entry too.
The decision recognizes most COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinovak and Sinopharm – but not Russia’s Sputnik vaccine.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said foreigners coming from “red countries” with high outbreaks will be denied entry into Israel.
There is no further information on whether tourists will have to quarantine or be tested upon arrival.
Israeli leaders hope the decision to reopen its borders to foreigners will boost its tourism industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic.
The decision comes just weeks before Christmas, when tens of thousands of tourists typically flood the Holy Land.
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