Severe travel warning for US, Italy, France and Greece delayed

Beginning next Wednesday, travelers from some 18 additional countries will be required to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated.

American Airlines passenger planeS parked at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S. March 23, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/NICK OXFORD/FILE PHOTO)
American Airlines passenger planeS parked at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S. March 23, 2020
Israel placed the US, France, Italy, Germany, Greece and several other countries under a severe travel warning, the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee decided on Tuesday afternoon following the Health Ministry’s recommendation.
The measure was originally supposed to come into effect on Friday, but the ministry announced later on Tuesday that it was postponed until Wednesday.
Starting from August 11, all travelers entering Israel from these countries will be required to isolate for a minimum of seven days – even if they are fully vaccinated or recovered.
The nations that were approved to be added to the list are Botswana, Bulgaria, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, Eswatini, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Malawi, Netherlands, Rwanda, Tanzania, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United States.
The list of countries already under a severe travel warning – or colored orange – includes Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Seychelles, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
However, according to the recommendation, Costa Rica, Kenya, Liberia, Panama, Paraguay, Seychelles, Uganda and Zambia are going to be removed from the list on Friday.
Israelis are allowed to travel to orange countries, but they need to quarantine when they return – for 14 days, which can be shortened to seven with two negative PCR tests.
On the other hand, the countries considered the highest level of risk – the red ones – are placed under a total travel ban.
Israelis are prohibited from visiting those countries unless they obtain permission from the government’s Exceptions Committee. Those who return are also required to isolate regardless of their immunization status.
This list includes Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Cyprus, Georgia, Great Britain, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
ISRAEL CURRENTLY determines the status of a country based on a combination of the local level of morbidity and coronavirus trends on the one hand, and on the number of infected inbound travelers from that nation entering Israel on the other. The rate of infection among the travelers is also considered.
According to the data presented by the Health Ministry during the committee’s meeting, some 57,025 passengers arrived in Israel from the US in the past month. Of those, some 141 were infected with the virus, or 0.25%.
Moreover, the US currently presents a weekly average of 155 cases per million people, 1,736 active cases per million people according to an epidemiological model developed by Imperial College London (ICL) and 969 according to one by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
Regarding France, some 17,429 passengers traveled to Israel in the past month, with 42 of them found to be infected (or 0.24%). In addition, France currently presents a weekly average of 262 cases per million people, 224 active cases per million people according to the ICL model and 558 according to the IHME version.
Some 11,065 people have traveled to Israel from Italy in the past month, and 0.24% of them were also positive for the virus – 27 travelers. Italy currently has a weekly average of 67 cases per million people, 181 active cases per million people according to the ICL model and 95 according to IHME.
Also on Tuesday, the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee approved the government’s request to employ technological tools to monitor compliance with quarantine requirements.
Specifically, the authorities have been looking into a monitoring system that would allow the police to send an SMS or call the individual in quarantine and localize their phone.
However, according to the original legal framework approved by the full Knesset in the spring, the person should be given the choice to opt out of technological surveillance tools and choose to quarantine in a state-run hotel.
Since the government currently does not intend to offer this option, the committee approved the authorization to use electronic tools only until August 17, asking the government to update the relevant legislation as soon as possible.