Israel cancels travel quotas, sets new coronavirus rules for airport

The daily limit of 3,000 passengers entering the country has been cancelled • Israelis can now travel to Sinai

PASSENGERS WEARING masks push trolleys yesterday at the departures terminal at Ben-Gurion Airport. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
PASSENGERS WEARING masks push trolleys yesterday at the departures terminal at Ben-Gurion Airport.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
The Israeli government has approved new regulations on arrivals and departures from Ben-Gurion Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic starting Saturday evening.
Per the new rules, entry quotas were abolished, and starting Saturday at midnight there are no longer restrictions on the number of people allowed to enter the country.
Flights will be determined on the basis of the airport's capacity to receive them while holding COVID-19 tests for incoming passengers and maintaining social distancing. 
Passengers will no longer be asked to check their temperature while entering the terminal and before boarding.
Israelis departing the country will not have to submit a request to a special committee to be approved, and it will be possible for airlines to send cargo flights to Israel and use the plane as a passenger flight upon its return.
The new guidelines will be in place for one week, until Sunday, March 28. 
The Taba Border Crossing between Israel and Egypt also reopened at midnight and Israelis wishing to go on vacation in the Sinai should be able to do so. However, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen agreed that a few days are needed to ensure the crossing will function in a safe manner in accordance with the same COVID-19 health guidelines used at the airport. 

"It is done," Farkash-Hacohen tweeted on Saturday evening. "After a year of being closed, the Taba Border Crossing will be open!" She added that the opening will only take place after logistical preparations are undertaken. 
Israelis who travel abroad are still required to have a COVID-19 test done before their return flight and to take another test when they land in Israel. 
The change follows the High Court of Justice striking down previous travel restrictions on Wednesday, despite objections from Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and other health officials who expressed concern that those returning could bring with them coronavirus variants.