Israel to ban US tourists who had COVID-19 if they are not vaccinated

People who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months and wish to enter Israel under the government’s new tourism scheme will not be able to do so unless they have a certificate of digital recovery, government officials said Thursday.

This means that American travelers who do not have access to such documentation will not be able to enter Israel. Only recovered patients from the around 40 countries participating in the European Union digital passport program will be recognized as recovered and will meet the entry criteria.

This only applies to tourists who have not been vaccinated. An American tourist who had COVID but was also vaccinated with two injections, either before or after becoming ill, will be allowed to enter Israel, assuming the second vaccine was administered in the past six months. If it is longer, the tourist would need to receive a booster shot.

The move stems from concerns that travelers could falsify positive PCR test results to claim that they had previously been ill and later recovered from the virus. Thousands of incoming Israeli travelers have falsified negative PCR test results to board planes back to the country.

The boldest example of this was the hundreds of travelers returning from Oman after Rosh Hashanah. They presented negative test results to be able to board planes, but then tested positive after landing in Israel.

The scheme will continue to accept paper vaccination certificates, such as vaccination cards provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although the United States is working to digitize vaccine certificates, digitized recovery certificates do not appear to be on the agenda.

NEW IMMIGRANTS from North America receive a welcoming shofar upon arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport on a special ‘aliyah flight’ on behalf of Nefesh B’Nefesh. (credit: FLASH90)

The new policy keeps recovered travelers at a higher level than even Israelis, whose Green Passes last in perpetuity if they take a chance after recovering, at least for now. Someone with two shots only gets one Green Pass for up to six months.

Receiving more than one injection after having COVID is not recommended or is generally not available in any country.

The policy change has not been publicly announced, so many travelers have likely made plans to enter Israel next month based on the old scheme unveiled by the Prime Minister’s Office last week.

Under that announcement, which has yet to be approved by the government, recovered individuals who can prove they tested positive at least 11 and no more than 180 days before entering Israel are also eligible to enter. If more than six months have passed and these people receive a booster, they could also enter the country.

Neither of these criteria would apply to recovered patients without digital certificates now, as, as noted, people would have to show that they received two vaccines in the last six months to enter Israel or two older vaccines and a booster shot. , if the recovery certificate is invalid.

To obtain entry, travelers must complete a declaration form from the Ministry of Health 48 hours before their flight. Part of the form will include entering the flight information, the location where the person will be isolated for up to 24 hours, and their vaccination or recovery certificate. It is when they complete this form that unqualified recovered travelers will likely learn that they are no longer eligible to enter.

YAD L’OLIM, an organization that has been working to help bring family members of new immigrants to Israel for the past few months, posted about the policy change on Facebook and since then, its founder Dov Lipman said, hundreds of messages from worried. travelers have arrived.

“Oh no! This is not right! Does that mean that a positive PCR within six months is not enough?” Asked a traveler. “My husband had coronavirus at the end of August and he is not allowed to get vaccinated. He received the monoclonal infusion and had antibodies with a very high number of more than 800, more than a vaccinated person ”.

The traveler said that his daughter also had coronavirus. The family has already bought tickets and arranged a visit to see their family members who are studying in Israel.

“We will continue to work hard to change this unreasonable decision,” Lipman said, adding that not allowing entry to people who had prior approval is “unfair and unacceptable.”

The new scheme eliminates serological or antibody tests for people entering Israel. With the serology removed, even those who received permission to enter Israel before November 1 but do not meet the criteria after November 1 will likely not pass the Healthy Ministry declaration form and therefore will not be able to enter.

When this new program is implemented, the permit system to enter Israel will be outdated and there will be very few exceptions to the rules.

First-degree relatives of people living in Israel will likely be able to enter the country only for humanitarian reasons, the Health Ministry said. It is unclear whether weddings and births or other monumental occasions will be considered humane.

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