After a month’s hiatus due to a new wave of Covid-19 contamination, Israel will reopen its doors from September 19 to groups of foreign tourists, authorities said on Sunday.
On the strength of an intense vaccination campaign in the winter, the Hebrew state had deconfined most of its economy in the spring and in May authorized groups of foreign tourists to enter the country following the health protocol.
But the authorities had frozen this program on August 11 due to a new influx of cases linked to the Delta variant, especially among the unvaccinated.
Last week, when school started, the country recorded a record, with around 11,000 infections in one day. Since the number has decreased to 4,975 contaminations on Saturday, according to the Ministry of Health, which also reported a reduction in serious cases.
The Ministry of Tourism has announced that from September 19, groups of tourists made up of five to thirty people will be admitted to Israel again, apart from those coming from countries on its “red list”. This currently includes Brazil, Turkey, Bulgaria and Mexico.
The authorities have not yet announced a date for the reception of individual tourists.
“There is no limit to the number of foreign groups allowed to enter Israel,” the tourism ministry said in a statement, adding that, from May to August, “more than 2,000 tourists entered Israel, mainly (from) the United States and Europe ”, and“ no case of Covid has been identified among these groups ”.
Tourists will need to have received a second dose of the vaccine within the past six months, or proof of a third dose, authorities said.
One of the first countries in the world to vaccinate the majority of its population of nine million, Israel has launched a campaign in recent weeks for a third dose to boost the immune response of people vaccinated for more than six months.
More than 2.5 million people have received this booster dose, according to the Department of Health.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called on Sunday to remain “cautious” and to respect health instructions as families prepare to reunite, from Monday, for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, followed in September by the holidays of Yom Kippur and Sukkot.