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France, Switzerland impose entry restrictions on unvaccinated Israelis

New regulations effectively ban travel for Israelis who haven’t had shot; both countries will still permit Israelis to travel if they are inoculated

Travelers seen in the departure hall at the Ben Gurion International Airport, on July 19, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Travelers seen in the departure hall at the Ben Gurion International Airport, on July 19, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

France and Switzerland on Thursday joined the list of European countries imposing strict entry restrictions on unvaccinated Israelis that effectively ban them from visiting those nations.

According to CNN, France also imposed the same restrictions on unvaccinated travelers from the United States.

Travelers from Israel and the US who are not inoculated against the coronavirus will only be permitted entry to France if they can prove an essential reason for making the trip and can present a negative test before traveling. Additionally, they will need to quarantine for seven days upon arrival.

Switzerland said that as of Monday, Israel will be added to the list of “corona risk countries” and unvaccinated Israelis can only enter the country in a case of “utmost necessity.” Vaccinated Israelis will still be granted entry.

The decisions came in the wake of the European Union’s removal of Israel from a list of nations deemed “epidemiologically safe.” Member states are not bound by the EU recommendation.

Portugal and Sweden have decided to bar entry to Israeli nationals except for essential and humanitarian reasons, while Italy has decided to bar unvaccinated Israelis but welcomes those with Israeli vaccination certificates.

Spain requires proof of vaccination 14 days or more before the trip. Romania and the Czech Republic have also said that only vaccinated Israelis are allowed into the country.

The Netherlands has also said that only vaccinated Israelis will be allowed into the country and they must quarantine upon arrival as well as presenting a negative coronavirus test result.

Last week, epidemiologist Nadav Davidovitch, a professor at Ben Gurion University, said Israel is a “strange case” for other governments to try to categorize due to its high number of daily cases coupled with a wide vaccination program.

“We have some of the highest rates for both infections and vaccinations,” Davidovitch noted, explaining this will cause countries to vary in how they assess the level of risk posed by Israelis.

Israel recorded nearly 8,000 new coronavirus cases Thursday, but signs that the spread of the virus were slowing continued to feed optimism that the country may be on the road back to recovery following a significant bout with the Delta variant.

Nathan Jeffay contributed to this report.

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