Israel to allow unvaccinated tourists into country

February 20, 2022 GMT
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett achairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, Pool)
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett achairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, Pool)
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett achairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, Pool)
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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett achairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, Pool)
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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett achairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, Pool)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel announced Sunday that it would allow unvaccinated tourists to enter the country beginning next month as the latest wave of the coronavirus recedes.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that foreign tourists, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, would be required to take PCR coronavirus tests before their flights and upon landing. The rules go into effect on March 1.

“We are seeing a constant decline in morbidity data, so it is time to gradually open up,” Bennett said.

Israel has largely restricted the entry of foreign tourists for the past two years and virtually closed its skies to foreign visitors late last year with the arrival of the highly contagious omicron variant. Recent data has shown a sharp drop in new cases, mirroring patterns in other countries around the world.

Bennett’s office said that restrictions would also be eased on Israelis returning to the country, with travelers no longer required to take a PCR test before their flight.

Requirements for weekly testing of school children will also be halted in the coming weeks.