US warns against travel to Israel due to surging Omicron infections

Jewish state among 22 countries newly added to CDC’s ‘high risk’ category, taking total up to around 100

Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

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)

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against traveling to Israel on Tuesday due to surging COVID-19 infections.

The CDC placed Israel in its highest risk assessment category, a “Level 4” designation meaning “very high” COVID-19 risk.

The agency added 22 countries to the list on Tuesday, including Israel, Australia, Egypt, Albania, Argentina and Uruguay. Around 100 countries are currently in the Level 4 category.

The agency says to avoid travel to such destinations if possible, and to make sure vaccinations are up-to-date if travel is necessary.

Omicron has caused a staggering number of infections in Israel in recent weeks.

Daily infections have repeatedly broken pandemic records including on Sunday and Monday, which saw over 60,000 new confirmed cases each.

Close to 500 Israelis are hospitalized in serious condition.

The COVID-19 ward of Ziv Medical Center in Safed, on January 18, 2022. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Travel between the US and Israel has been a constant concern during the pandemic.

Many US Jews have said they felt unfairly excluded from Israel, especially those with family in the country.

Israel reopened its borders to some foreign tourists earlier this month, with officials saying soaring domestic infections made the impact of infections from abroad negligible.

Health officials still recommend avoiding any non-essential travel.

The CDC also warned against travel to Israel last year.

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