Israel has decided to extends its state of national lockdown rather than relax measures, as the country continues to fight against high daily infection rates. The decision is just one of many renewed restrictions announced by different countries in the past few days, as the world battles to prevent the spread of the virus from escalating further. Here’s a close look at the decision made in Israel, as well as a look at their vaccination efforts and who can and cannot visit the country at present.
Israel Extends Its Lockdown – Information For Travelers
Following a vote by the Israeli cabinet, the country has decided to extend its national lockdown. The lockdown was due to end at midnight yesterday, however the forecast that Israel’s Covid-19 cases would drop by the middle of January did not come true, leading to the extension.
It has been reported that Israeli politicians disagreed with how long to extend the lockdown for; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and officials from the Health Ministry wanted the lockdown to go on for at least another week longer, whilst the Defence Minister Benny Gantz only wanted it to end on Thursday. In the end, it was decided that the lockdown would last until Friday 5th February at the earliest.
Israel’s lockdown comes with strict restrictions that are designed at minimizing the potential for the virus to spread further. Gatherings in a closed area are limited to five, whilst open spaces are limited to a party of 10. Employees are made to work from home where possible, and transport services are operating at 50% capacity. Customers are no longer allowed to dine in or take away from restaurants, with only deliveries in operations, whilst there is the potential to be fined NIS 500 for traveling further more than 1000m from one’s home – unless doing so for medical treatment, exercise or any other exceptions.
This is Israel’s third lockdown, with the country still averaging more than 6,500 cases over the last 7 days. It is expected that the lockdown will continue until a significant reduction has been observed.
Israel’s Vaccination Efforts
Another factor that might allow Israel to see the end of lockdown is the speed in which its people are being vaccinated. Israel at present has one of the most efficient and organized vaccination efforts in the world, with more than 3 million Israelis having received the first dose of the vaccine, and 1,790,000 having received both doses.
With 20% of Israel’s population now protected against the virus, they are the country that has taken the closest step towards total immunization so far. Whilst they have had such success in this area, Israel has come under criticism for not supplying vaccine doses for those living in the Palestinian Authority. However, it was announced yesterday that Israel was to transfer doses of the vaccine to the Palestinians, edging closer towards ensuring all in the country were protected.
Who Can Visit Israel?
Along with the decision to extend lockdown in the country, the Israeli cabinet also voted to extend the ban on international flights, meaning that none are able to enter or exit Israel at present. However, there are some exceptions for those hoping to leave Israel, such as for medical treatment, for a legal matter or to attend a funeral.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories