As of August 16, Israelis will be able to return from only 10 countries without having to quarantine, with only three of those destinations accepting Israeli tourists, according to updated travel guidelines published by the Health Ministry late on Sunday.
The guidelines divided countries into three categories — yellow countries with low COVID rates, from which all arrivals must only isolate for 24 hours or until receipt of a negative test result; orange countries with higher COVID rates, from which all arrivals will be required to isolate for one week; and red countries to which travel is barred entirely, unless an individual receives special permission from the government’s exemptions committee.
The list of yellow countries from August 16 is: Austria, Australia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Taiwan, Moldova, New Zealand, China, Singapore and the Czech Republic.
However, only three of those countries — Austria, the Czech Republic and Moldova — currently allow Israeli tourists to enter; some of the others may allow dual citizens to visit under certain circumstances with restrictive conditions.
The list of red countries will be Bulgaria, Brazil, Georgia, Mexico, Spain and Turkey.
All other countries — including the UK and South Africa, which had been on the travel ban list — will now be designated as orange.
Israeli arrivals from any countries, who are not vaccinated or have not recovered from the coronavirus, are all required to enter quarantine for a week.
The Knesset’s Constitution Law and Justice Committee will convene on Monday to debate the new policy.
Until now, lawmakers and health officials were constantly updating the list of countries from which arrivals are required to quarantine, and the Health Ministry hopes the new policy will lead to less confusion on the matter.
Until August 16, though, the list updated last week will apply.
The new travel rules were decided as Israel faces a surging virus outbreak despite a strong vaccination campaign. As of Sunday evening, there were 30,111 active COVID cases in Israel, with 597 hospitalized, 363 in serious condition and 50 on ventilators.