Israel extends ban on foreigners until October 1

Lone passenger at Ben Gurion Airport  / Photo: Reuters

The Ministry of Health is committed to presenting a plan next week for gradually reopening the borders.

Israel has extended the ban on non-Israeli passport holders entering the country until October 1. The Israel Civil Aviation Authority notified airlines using Ben Gurion airport of the extension due to the Covid-19 pandemic but it should be stressed that this is an advisory to help airlines plan their schedules and the Ministry of Interior Immigration and Population Authority could end the ban at any time.

Israel's borders have been closed to foreigners since early March but there are now signs that the ban may soon be eased. For some months foreigners with relatives in Israel have been allowed to enter for compassionate reasons or to celebrate events with special permission. More recently hundreds of university and yeshiva students have been given special permission to enter Israel. In the next stage businesspeople with an invitation from an Israeli company and organized tours from 'green' countries with low infection rate will be allowed into Israel.

Ministry of Health associate director general Prof. Itamar Grotto said that a plan to allow foreign tourists into Israel would be presented before the end of August. Israel Tourism Association CEO Yossi Fattal hopes that incoming tourism can be revived for the final quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile Israel is putting pressure on more 'green' countries to allow in Israeli tourists - Georgia, Cyprus and even Italy - even though the arrangement would not be reciprocal. Israelis can already travel to Bulgaria and Croatia as well as four destinations in Greece, without the need to isolate on returning home. Greece only allows in 600 Israeli tourists per week although Israelis must present a valid negative Covid-19 from the 72 hours before flying. Israelis can also enter other countries without the need for a test including the US and Turkey but must self-isolate for two weeks on returning home.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 23, 2020 © Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Lone passenger at Ben Gurion Airport  / Photo: Reuters
Lone passenger at Ben Gurion Airport / Photo: Reuters
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