JERUSALEM, Israel – After a year of virtually no tourism, Israel may begin to allow vaccinated tourists into the country as early as April, The Jerusalem Post reports.
Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said she hopes Israel can start welcoming tourists “around mid-April.”
Currently, non-citizens, no matter what their vaccination status is, are banned from entering Israel unless they receive special permission from a committee.
While Israel’s mortality and new cases have decreased amid Israel’s aggressive vaccination campaign, Israeli leaders are still concerned about new variants.
Earlier this year, Israel shuttered Ben Gurion Airport to virtually all commercial traffic. Starting Tuesday, Israel will allow flights from all destinations but will limit the number of incoming passengers to just 3,000 per day.
While Israel is seeing positive trends, health officials are wary that new variants could hamper the country’s success in combatting the virus.
“The UK variant is dominant in Israel, but the vaccine is effective against it,” Public Health Services head Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said during a press briefing. “We also have the South African variant that only constitutes 1%, but the vaccine is less effective against it. We are afraid of new variants stronger than the vaccine entering the country from all directions, but especially through the airport.”
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