Israel's cabinet today decided to postpone plans to reopen the country to foreign tourists on July 1 following the recent uptick in new Covid-19 cases. Implementation of the plan has been delayed until at least August 1.
Earlier this week Minister of Interior Ayelet Shaked reaffirmed the decision by her predecessor Aryeh Deri to allow in foreign tourists who had had two vaccination jabs and tested negative for the virus. But the recent surge in new cases, traced back to Israelis returning home from abroad, has brought about a rethink on the matter.
125 new Covid-19 cases were diagnosed in Israel yesterday and 110 on Monday, by far the highest figures for several months, with most of the cases in schools in Binyamina and Modi'in-Maccabim-Reut identified as the more infectious Delta variant, which originated in India.
During a visit to Ben Gurion airport yesterday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said "I ask anyone who does not need to travel abroad not to do so. This is not an order but a request. We are aware of the desire to fly abroad in summer. The infection in Binyamina originated in a trip to Cyprus, which is not a red country. There may be substantial changes in policy on entering and leaving Israel. My recommendation: don’t book overseas vacations."
The Israeli government has also allocated more resources for enforcing testing at Ben Gurion airport and for enforcement of those returning Israelis who are required to isolate after returning from abroad from a 'red' high-infection country, or because they are not vaccinated.
The Ministry of Health announced this morning that parents whose children violate the need to isolate will be fined NIS 5,000 and that it is now mandatory to wear masks at Ben Gurion airport and at land border crossings.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 23, 2021
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