Israel Cancels ‘Red’ Country List, Lifting Travel Ban on U.S., U.K.

YERUSHALAYIM -
Travelers seen at the departure hall in the Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

Israel has canceled the list of high-infection “red” countries to which Israelis are barred from flying, effective as of midnight Thursday, Health Ministry Director General Prof. Nachman Ash announced.

The move will allow Israelis to travel again anywhere across the world without needing special governmental permission, or to quarantine for a week upon their return – provided that they are vaccinated.

The list of the “red” countries was initially compiled to slow the arrival of the omicron strain in Israel, but due to the country’s major omicron outbreak, officials view the travel bans as pointless.

The latest Health Ministry data showed that 7% of the cases registered in the past week and 4% of the cases of the previous day came from people returning from abroad. A few days earlier their numbers were more than 20%.

The list has already been dramatically shortened, but it currently still includes key destinations such as the United States, Britain, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Switzerland.

As of Sunday, Jan. 9, foreign nationals from non-red countries will be able to enter Israel without the need for special permission for the first time since the end of November, provided that they are fully vaccinated under the Health Ministry’s criteria.