Only RT-PCR tests required
Starting next Tuesday, March 1, 2022, Israel will allow entry to all tourists regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, as decided by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, with the involvement of Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov.
Prime Minister Bennett said, “We are seeing a steady decline in the mortality rates across the world therefore, we see it is time to gradually open tourism.” Under the new guidelines, tourists of all ages, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will be allowed to enter Israel provided they present a negative RT-PCR test before arriving, and take an RT-PCR test upon landing in Israel. So far, only those vaccinated against COVID-19 are allowed to enter Israel after the country closed its borders to foreigners for the first time in March 2020.
Bennett elaborates stating, “Our indicators must be in sync with the situation on the ground, we must be certain that what we are telling the public is in sync with what is to be expected. In order to maintain public trust and to be sure that the government’s guidelines are being implemented, we need to open up when the situation improves – and it is improving significantly.”
With the new guidelines being put into effect, it will also be easier for Israeli nationals to enter the country. Like all travellers to Israel, they only have to undergo a RT-PCR test on arrival whereas the antigen test is no longer required prior to departure. Unvaccinated locals will no longer have to be quarantined if the RT-PCR test at Ben-Gurion International Airport comes back negative.
With regard to the situation in the country, Bennett emphasizes, “At the moment, the situation in Israel is good, which is the direct result of correct and dynamic management. Though Israel is opening to tourism, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and, in the event of a new variant, we will act quickly again.”
Sammy Yahia, Israel’s Director of Tourism to India and Philippines, is thrilled with the new guidelines stating, “This is the news we have been waiting for since the first wave of the pandemic brough the world to a standstill two years ago. We are confident that visitor numbers will gradually recover to pre-pandemic numbers as consumer confidence grows in line with the gradual easing of restrictions. Our first, and most important priority is the safety and wellbeing of all those who wish to travel to Israel, and starting next week, I look forward to welcoming Indian tourists back to my beautiful country.”