Almost a year and a half after the first of several lockdowns due to COVID-19 started in Israel, the nation will be emerging from nearly all restrictions. It will be almost back to “business as usual” for shops and restaurants, as well as sports, cultural, worship, family, and other gatherings.
As of next Tuesday, June 1, there will no longer be restrictions on the number of people who can gather or attend an event. Also, unvaccinated people will not have to be routinely tested or observe special protocols to access a venue—the “green pass” will be ended.
Just over a month ago, some evangelical leaders turned on Israel for instituting the Green Pass. Some went so far as to say Israel was Nazi-like and had violated the Nuremberg Code, meant to prevent the type of human experimentation that took place under Hitler. Despite the controversy, the policy has proven to be effective.
There have been only 25-30 new cases reported daily, and only 432 people have an active infection as of Wednesday. At the peak of the crisis last winter, there were 88,000 cases and 12,000 new ones a day. If this positive trend continues, officials think the remaining indoor mask requirement should be lifted the following week.
Precautions remain in place for those traveling abroad or returning home.
“For now, the coronavirus really seems over, but we cannot be sure that new variants are not going to appear in the future,” Dror Mevorah, Professor at Hadassah University Medical Center, said. “We have to be aware of what is going on in the world, and we have to keep our airport monitored.”
Vaccinated or recovered Israelis can travel abroad and do not have to self-quarantine upon arrival home. Currently, foreign nationals with close relatives in the land can enter Israel under specific guidelines.
Israel hopes to open its borders to tourists again later next month—a pushback from the original date of late May—and individual visitors by sometime in July. Vaccinations will be required for tourists to enter at this point. Everyone—foreign, national, vaccinated, recovered—still has to clear corona PCR test before and after their flight to Israel.
Dr. Eyal Leshem, director of the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Diseases at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, believes that Israel’s policies regarding incoming travelers are on target.
“The risk is very low (to allow vaccinated tourists in), and we should not forget that tourism is a very important industry in Israel that supports hundreds of thousands of people.”