For the First Time in Nearly 10 Months, Israel Records No COVID Deaths

On Thursday, Health Ministry warned Israelis, including those who have recovered from the virus or been vaccinated, to refrain from traveling to Turkey, India, Brazil and four other countries because of high COVID morbidity rates

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Tel Aviv, February.
Tel Aviv, February.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Israel reported no COVID-related deaths on Friday for the first time since June, according to Health Ministry data.

About 54 percent of Israel's citizens or residents over 16 – the age group eligible for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the country – have received both doses of the COVID vaccine, and infections and hospitalizations are down sharply.

There are currently 1,897 active COVID cases in Israel, with 160 of them in serious condition. So far, 6,346 people have died from COVID in Israel.

On Thursday, Israel's Health Ministry released a travel advisory on warning Israelis, including those who have recovered from the virus or been vaccinated, to refrain from traveling to Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Turkey because of high COVID morbidity rates.

The statement also noted the presence of alarming COVID variants in those countries, and recommended that the public avoid all travel outside of Israel if possible.

With the number of Israelis vaccinated against COVID-19 topping 5 million and the country experiencing fewer than 100 new daily cases, the government ended its outdoor mask mandate on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Israel said last week it will start allowing the limited entry of vaccinated tourist groups as of May 23.

The return of foreigners after Israel had closed its borders at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020 would boost the country's economy, which contracted 2.5 percent in 2020, and battered tourism sector.

Since Israel entered its first lockdown in March 2020, non-residents – with rare exceptions – have not been allowed into the country. In late January, as part of the third lockdown, even Israeli citizens were prevented from entering. However, that particular restriction was lifted in March.

The Health Ministry's Director-General Chezy Levy said that unvaccinated foreign workers and students from India must quarantine in state-run quarantine hotels.

He also spoke to the next anticipated vaccination campagin saying that "those who have already been vaccinated will receive one additional dose, and those who have not been vaccinated will receive two."

He also said that there has been no rise in infections since the reopening of schools in recent weeks.

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