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Arriving travelers at Ben Gurion Airport

Israel to Open to Unvaccinated Tourists Starting March 1

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced Sunday, February 20, a plan to ease certain COVID restrictions on travel and education, set to come into effect on March 1.

Under the new guidelines, both vaccinated and unvaccinated tourists of all ages will be allowed into the country, as long as they submit a negative PCR test before boarding the flight and take another one after landing in Israel.

Israeli citizens returning to Israel will not have to take a pre-flight test, but only a PCR upon landing.

Unvaccinated Israelis will not have to quarantine after their return to Israel as long as they test negative upon landing.

The announcement came after the Health Ministry last week recommended easing COVID-19 restrictions as the fifth wave of infections fueled by the Omicron variant continues to recede.

Under the new regulations, mandatory home COVID tests for Israeli schoolchildren will be canceled as well — for middle schoolers on Thursday and elementary school students on March 10.

“We are seeing a steady decline in the morbidity data; therefore, this is the time to gradually open what we were the first in the world to close,” Bennett said after a meeting on the matter Sunday with Horowitz and Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov.

“Our indicators must be in sync with the situation on the ground. What we are telling the public must be in sync with what is expected of it,” he said. “In order to maintain the public’s trust and be certain that the citizens of Israel are implementing the directives and the government’s decision, we must open up as the situation improves – and it is improving significantly.”

“At the moment, the situation in Israel is good… At the same time, we will continue to closely monitor the situation and in the event of a new variant, we will again act quickly,” Bennett added.

The Health Ministry had originally recommended only allowing unvaccinated tourists under the age of 12 to enter the country, and only if they are accompanied by vaccinated parents. (TOI / VFI News)