By: Amit Acco, Partner |
Israeli Government announced that as of Wednesday, December 15, the UK, Denmark will be added to the list of ‘red’ countries due to the “rapid increase” in cases of the Omicron variant. The regulation was postponed to become effective on December 16, 2021, to allow travelers an additional day to prepare.
The decision came a day after coalition party leaders agreed to update the list of banned countries daily. The Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz warned additional countries will be classified as “red” in the coming days and urged them to refrain from non-essential travel. He also stressed that the government does not currently plan to bar international travel entirely.
This move can potentially reduce flights abroad by making it difficult to plan trips — and as the government has tightened travel restrictions and quarantine rules amid concerns over Omicron.
The move could reduce international travel by making it increasingly difficult to plan trips. According to the Prime Minister office:
“Our national strategy at this stage is twofold: First, to delay as much as possible the infiltration of the Omicron variant to Israel, and the second is to raise the vaccination level among Israeli citizens…In the coming days, additional countries will be added to the list of red countries in accordance with the Health Ministry’s definitions…The more we protect Israel from Omicron entering our borders, the more we can keep the economy open and allow the continuation of day-to-day life”
During cabinet meeting earlier today, the PM Bennet said:
“if we do not take immediate and difficult steps now, we will reach a lockdown…We know that the Omicron variant has entered Israel, but at the moment, following the steps we have taken, the numbers are low. The situation in Israel is significantly better than most of the world, but it is not difficult to understand that if Ben Gurion Airport opens, the numbers will skyrocket…We want to delay [Omicron’s] entry into the country through the restrictions at Ben Gurion Airport”
Red Countries: What are the related entry regulations?
Under Israeli COVID-19 Entry Restrictions, entry to Israel is banned for foreign nationals visiting a red country in the last 14 days before arrival in Israel. For the full country designation list click here.
Non-Israelis who visited red country in the last 14 days, will be denied entry to Israel unless they petition the Exceptions Committee successfully: Online petition form for the Exceptions Committee
The B.1.1.529 variant, or the “Omicron”, which has been described as having an “awful spike mutation profile,” has been detected in several coronavirus cases in South Africa. In addition, South African scientists say the new variant has an “extremely high” number of mutations.
Disclaimer: The COVID-19 information is gathered from various public media sources at the courtesy of KTA to its clients and website visitors. Due to the rapid, sometimes daily changes in policy, we urge any traveler to get updated at the official government website by clicking here before planning or taking any international travel to or from Israel.