Israel Postponing Entrance of Vaccinated Tourists Amidst Delta Outbreak

Travelers seen at the Ben Gurion International Airport, on June 23, 2021. (Flash90)

Vaccinated tourists will not be allowed to enter Israel on August 1, said Health Ministry’s Director General Prof. Nachman Ash.

“We are postponing the date for the entrance of tourists, it is not going to happen on August 1,” Ash said.  A new date has not yet been set, The Jerusalem Post reported. “Unfortunately, the current situation does not permit us to allow tourists to enter.”

Ash also urged Israelis to not travel abroad, as the world grapples with dozens of rapid outbreaks from the more-infectious Delta variant.

The positivity rate in Israel is the highest since March, and there are currently 10-20 cases a day being reported. There are 63 patients in serious conditions on Sunday morning, and a month ago there were 19.

Health experts suggest the Pfizer vaccine is less effective at preventing infection from the Delta variant, but still offers substantial protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. At the coronavirus peak in January, Israel had 1,2000 patients in serious condition, straining the hospital system.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz had acknowledged another lockdown is a possibility, but stressed the government would only use it as a last resort.

“Of course it is possible that there will be another lockdown, but we are not discussing it now,” Horowitz said in an interview to Army Radio. “Everyone can understand that if there is a huge outbreak here, including in serious morbidity, we will get there. We are taking measures so that we are not going to need it.”