Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Chezy Levy said on Monday that Israel is working on a plan to allow tourists into Israel beginning in September.
Levy said at a meeting of the Knesset State Control Committee that the Health Ministry will present a plan to reopen Israel’s skies to tourists by the end of August. The plan will allow tourists from “green countries” to enter Israel in “controlled groups” as well as enable Israelis to travel for business even to “red countries.”
On Sunday, the Health Ministry signed an order retroactively exempting Israelis returning from 20 countries from the requirement to quarantine upon arrival back in Israel.
The 20 countries are: Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Slovenia and the UK.
However, of the above-listed countries, only Bulgaria, Croatia and Greece have agreed to allow Israeli tourists to visit under certain conditions.
“Developed Western countries do not consider tests as an alternative to quarantine,” said Dr. Asher Salmon, director of the International Relations Department in the Health Ministry. “We’ve been in contact with over ten countries over the past two months to reach mutual travel agreements. But it ended because of Israel’s transition from ‘green’ to ‘red.’ We have to achieve the EU’s benchmark of only 200 new coronavirus cases per day, per 25 million people. We’re very far from that.”
“We’re hoping there will be a technological breakthrough that will enable us to administer rapid coronavirus tests to passengers,” said Ben-Gurion Airport Director Shmuel Zakai.
“There’s been a significant change for the better since [coronavirus czar] Prof. Gamzu entered his position. Israeli businesses currently can’t hold meetings and drum up business so we must enable options for further travel opportunities.”