Israel Joins International Group to Reopen Borders

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel coronavirus
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz attends a news conference about the coronavirus, last month in Vienna. (Roland Schlager/Pool via Reuters)

Israel is joining an international plan for an early reopening of travel and tourism among countries that are making progress in emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative, put forward by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, would enable seven countries heavily dependent on tourism to get their economies going again: besides Israel and Austria — Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Greece and the Czech Republic, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

Israel currently bars the entry of all foreigners and Israelis returning from overseas must quarantine for two weeks.

“The world leaders discussed ways to advance international cooperation in the struggle against the coronavirus, exchanged ideas and ways in which their countries are dealing with the spread of the virus, raised common dilemmas in reopening the economy and policy regarding the reopening of educational institutions, and discussed ways of protecting at-risk populations in the shadow of the coronavirus,” a statement released after a meeting said.

Prior to opening their borders, members of the group would be expected to establish common protocols including masks, safe distances and testing.

The opening of borders could come within the next few weeks, the report said.