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Israel to open up to travel from 9 January

The country will admit Covid-19 vaccinated and recovered non-Israeli tourists from selected countries

From 9 January 2022, tourists will be permitted to travel to Israel from all countries except those on the country’s shortened red list. The red list countries are: Ethiopia, Mexico, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, the UAE, the UK and the US.

This marks a partial reversal of a ban on entry by foreigners imposed on 25 November 2021 in response to the discovery of the Omicron variant, after the country had only just opened up earlier that month. 

Guests from red list countries are still not permitted to enter without special permission.

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The Israeli Health Ministry confirmed that travellers from outside of red list countries could gain entry if they present proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19; visitors would then would be subject to PCR testing before and after arrival. 

The easing of travel restrictions comes as Israel experiences a surge of infections driven by the Omicron strain. While this may seem counterintuitive, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett explained that as there are already tens of thousands of cases in Israel, a small number of additional infections among travellers from overseas would be “meaningless”.

Many travel industry leaders are in agreement, with some medical experts heralding Omicron as a possible end to the pandemic, as the milder more contagious variant supports herd immunity.

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