Israel said expected to soon scrap mandatory airport COVID tests for arrivals

Reports say requirement to take test, which travelers must pay for themselves, could be dropped at start of June

An arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, on November 28, 2021, heads to a mandatory COVID test. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
An arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, on November 28, 2021, heads to a mandatory COVID test. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israel is expected to soon drop the requirement that arriving travelers be tested for COVID-19, Hebrew media reported Tuesday.

Under current coronavirus rules, anyone landing at Ben Gurion Airport must take a test, which the travelers must pay for themselves.

After testing, arrivals must quarantine for 24 hours or until they get the test results, whichever comes first.

According to the reports in Channel 12 and Walla, the Health Ministry is expected to soon announce that the testing requirement will be dropped at the start of next month.

The reports come after Israel’s former coronavirus czar called last month for the requirement to be scrapped, saying the tests were no longer necessary and only detect a “small percentage” of daily infections.

Also last month, the government ended the indoor mask mandate, citing declining morbidity. The rule, which was widely flouted, was one of the last remaining COVID restrictions.

Israel’s coronavirus numbers have been on a continuous downward trend. As of Tuesday, there were 20,545 active confirmed COVID cases in Israel, with 2,209 new cases diagnosed a day earlier. Currently, 497 COVID-positive patients are hospitalized, with 169 in serious condition and 70 of those on ventilators. The R reproduction rate, representing the average number of people each infected person passes the virus on to, was down to 0.75, signaling the pandemic is shrinking.

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