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Poland to allow in Israeli travelers without need for quarantine

Vaccinated tourists or those with negative tests up to 48 hours before arrival will be let in; Greece, Cyprus also to welcome Israelis more freely

Medical technicians test passengers for COVID-19 at the Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on March 8, 2021. (Flash90)
Medical technicians test passengers for COVID-19 at the Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on March 8, 2021. (Flash90)

Poland will begin allowing Israeli tourists to travel to the country without the need to quarantine, the Israeli Foreign Ministry indicated on Friday.

The ministry referenced a Polish government order issued Thursday allowing vaccinated Israeli citizens or those with a negative coronavirus test performed up to 48 hours before arriving in Poland, to enter the country without being subject to a compulsory 10-day quarantine.

The ministry said it has been working with Israeli missions around the world in recent months to advance the recognition of Israeli vaccination certificates, known as the “Green Pass,” so that countries may open up to Israeli tourists.

It was not clear whether unvaccinated Israeli travelers would be allowed in to Poland, and if so, how long they would need to quarantine.

Meanwhile, Greece is removing its tourist cap and Cyprus announced it will begin welcoming Israeli travelers without quarantine starting April 1

Cyprus declared in a press release on Tuesday that fully inoculated tourists or those with negative coronavirus tests will be able to freely enter the country with no need to quarantine.

“Prepare the beaches, hotels and restaurants for Israelis waiting to return and visit Cyprus,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides, in reaction to the agreement. “Your recognition of the ‘Green Pass’ will open the skies and restore widespread tourism soon.”

The deal with Cyprus was made a month ago, when its President Nicos Anastasiades visited Israel. The travel agreement was intended as a step toward restoring tourism in both countries — sectors that have been hit hard by the year-long pandemic.

(L to R) Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades elbow-bumps Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (mask-clad), during a joint press statement after their meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on February 14, 2021. (Marc Israel SELLEM / POOL / AFP)

Also Tuesday, Greece lifted its cap on the number of Israeli tourists permitted to enter the country, formerly set at 10,000 travelers a week. All tourists — even those who are fully vaccinated — will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their flight, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said.

Unvaccinated Israelis with negative COVID-19 tests will be allowed to enter but will need to quarantine for seven days upon arrival.

Israeli airlines and tourism companies have been quick to set up daily flights to a number of Greek destinations.

Israir Airlines announced that it will begin flights to Athens on Thursday and add additional destinations, such as Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Corfu, next week. Tickets will start at $199 per person.

Illustrative: An Israir flight taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv. September 3, 2015. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The Flying Carpet, an Israeli tourist company, also announced that it will facilitate immediate daily travel to locations such as Rhodes, Crete, Athens and Thessaloniki.

“We are prepared and ready to begin immediate flights. Our hotels in Greece and our company’s representatives are already on the ground and waiting for Israeli tourists,” the company said.

Tourism groups Kavei Hufsha, Blik Tourism and Daka 90 plan to sell package deals for tourists at 5-star hotels.

“Greece is currently in the middle of an intense vaccination campaign in order to create green tourism islands for safe vacations. A variety of hotels have already opened, mainly in Crete, Athens and Thessaloniki, and the Greek government has great expectations for the arrival of Israeli tourists,” the companies said in a joint statement.

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