On Sunday, Israeli Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash hinted that traveling abroad should be restricted as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on in Israel and the rest of the world, due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. Reports have claimed that the country might put a ban on international travel, even for vaccinated travelers.
According to Ash, tourists who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be barred from entering the country in the near future, despite the country having set out to open its borders on August 1. “We will continue to tighten oversight over our flight policy in the coming weeks and look into ramping up our protection against the importation of [coronavirus] variants from abroad,” Ash said during a press briefing. “It is not the time to go abroad since the pandemic still rages on in many countries. Non-essential travel is unnecessary and could lead to unnecessary infections. It could also bring in new, and potentially more dangerous, viruses and variants.
During the same press conference, Ash urged Israelis returning from abroad to adhere to isolation protocols to prevent further virus outbreaks. According to him, law enforcement will clamp down on offenders but was cautious to confirm any harsh restrictions on Israeli society as health officials pursued a policy of “living beside the pandemic.”
This being said, closing the airport entirely for all non-essential travel would not happen immediately. Israeli travelers would be given enough time to prepare if such a move is decided upon.