EU said set to advise restricting travel from Israel over COVID concerns

Along with US and 4 other countries, Israel will no longer be considered ‘epidemiologically safe’; but European member states are not required to follow bloc’s guidelines

Departing travelers at Ben Gurion Airport on August 5, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Departing travelers at Ben Gurion Airport on August 5, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israel will be removed from a European Union list of countries considered “epidemiologically safe” amid rising COVID-19 cases in the Jewish state, according to a Sunday report.

A diplomat told Reuters on Sunday that the European Council will remove Israel from the list, with EU member states also advised to reimpose travel restrictions on Israelis.

The move is expected to be announced on Monday, according to the news agency, which said Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and the United States are also expected to be removed from the list.

But EU member states are not legally required to enforce testing and quarantine requirements in accordance with the European Council list.

On Saturday, 7,071 people in Israel tested positive for COVID-19, according to Health Ministry statistics. As of Sunday, there were 80,579 active COVID cases in Israel, with 1,175 hospitalized, 726 in serious condition, and 149 of them on ventilators. The death toll since the start of the pandemic stood at 6,958.

Last Tuesday saw the highest one-day figure so far during the fourth wave, with over 10,000 infections — close to the record for a one-day new case total set in January.

On Sunday, the Health Ministry announced that effective Friday, Israelis returning from low- and moderate-risk countries will not have to self-isolate for a week upon landing if they received a booster or their second vaccine dose within the past half a year.

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