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Report: Israel mulls ending negative COVID test requirement before incoming flights

Health officials reportedly say that change to travel restrictions could be made in 1-2 weeks, when coronavirus morbidity is expected to decline further

Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, on January 4, 2022. (Arie Leib Abrams/ Flash90)
Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, on January 4, 2022. (Arie Leib Abrams/ Flash90)

Government officials are weighing ending the requirement for incoming travelers to Israel to show a negative COVID test before boarding a flight to the country, according to a Channel 12 news report.

Currently, anyone traveling to Israel must show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours or a negative antigen taken 24 hours before boarding the flight.

According to the report, the additional test that is required of all travelers upon landing at Ben Gurion International Airport would remain in place.

National carrier El Al reportedly told health officials that many countries around the world do not require their own citizens to show a pre-travel negative test. It was not immediately clear from the report if such a move would apply to citizens and non-citizens alike.

Though the report said that officials were generally in favor of either amending or nixing the measure, it added that any such changes to the current travel restrictions would only occur in a week or two after coronavirus morbidity in Israel drops further.

With the pandemic having dealt a heavy blow to the airline industry, El Al CEO Avigal Soreq welcomed the discussion, saying: “The State of Israel, like other Western countries, has made a decision to live alongside coronavirus.

“In 2022, international aviation is not a luxury, but a part of everyone’s lives. The Western world, as well as the World Health Organization, recognize and understand that aviation is not a cause for further morbidity and restrictions on movement between countries have been found to be an ineffective tool in preventing the spread of the virus.”

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