Israel to reopen to fully vaccinated tourists from May 23
Israel will be reopening to tourists this summer. The country's Minister of Tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen and Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein announced on Tuesday that Israel will allow fully vaccinated tourists to visit from May.
As of May 23, limited numbers of fully vaccinated tourists will be allowed to enter Israel on a leisure basis in groups. Once the borders have reopened to vaccinated travelers, it will be the first time in more than a year that Israel has reopened to non-citizens.
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Following an extremely successful vaccination program to date, Israel is ready to welcome back tourists who have been fully vaccinated from COVID-19 this summer.
Related: White House says fully vaccinated can now travel, updates other guidance
Even though permitted travelers will be vaccinated, Haaretz reports that Israel will require that all arriving passengers have a negative PCR test for COVID-19 before flying as well as an antibody test to prove they have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. Arriving passengers will also have to undergo a serological test to prove their vaccination status upon their arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV).
The country is also undergoing conversations in order to establish a vaccine certification for travelers, which would remove the need for a passenger to take a serological test on arrival.
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Full details of the program, including who will be allowed in and in what numbers, will be announced by the Israeli government "in the coming days."
It's believed that as of May 23 when the border reopens that Israel will permit only those traveling in groups. Assuming that infection rates within the country don't rise after the initial reopening, Farkash-Hacohen said Israel will also reopen to individual travelers.
"It is time Israel's unique advantage as a safe and healthy country starts to assist it in recovering from the economic crisis," Farkash-Hacohen said. "Opening the skies for international tourism will truly revive the tourism industry, including restaurants, hotels, sites, tour guides, buses and others looking to work and provide for their families."
According to Reuters, Israel has administered at least 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far — about 56.8% of the population. During the past week, Israel averaged about 21,490 doses each day. The country has widely been regarded as having one of the best vaccine rollout plans.
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The rate of infection within the country has also been falling. Per 100,000 people in the past seven days, Israel has reported 17 infections. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 836,072 cases of COVID-19 in Israel, as well as nearly 6,300 coronavirus-related deaths.