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Top health official urges end to COVID travel bans based on country

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health services at the Health Ministry, speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem on June 23, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health services at the Health Ministry, speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem on June 23, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Health Ministry’s director of public health, Sharon Alroy-Preis, calls for an end to COVID-19 travel bans based on destination, arguing that “cherry-picking which country poses a danger is no longer the correct method.”

While acknowledging that the system, which saw the government build a list of “red countries” that Israelis were prohibited from visiting, did help reduce morbidity, Alroy-Preis says the current situation demands a change as infection rates are rising all over the world “at a worrying rate.”

She says 150-200 infected people enter the country every day and that despite mandatory virus testing at the airport, some only find out they have COVID-19 days later.

Alroy-Preis says the Health Ministry is considering alternative solutions to “find a model that will allow travel and daily life alongside the coronavirus but will also reduce morbidity.”

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