EU, Israel to Mutually Recognize COVID Proof of Immunity

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Haaretz
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Arrivals at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, last week.
Arrivals at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, last week.Credit: Hadas Parush
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Haaretz

Israel and the European Union agreed Wednesday that each side will recognize the other's proof of immunity regarding the coronavirus, the governments announced in a joint statement.

The move will ease travel for Israelis upon arrival to EU states, but each country still has the right to impose further restrictions on visitors such as quarantine or the need to present a negative test result for COVID-19.

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According to the agreement, Israelis who are vaccinated against or have recovered from the disease could use their proof of immunity to gain access to public events under each country's coronavirus rules.

Israelis will also benefit from the agreement in Turkey and Morocco, which are part of the EU immunity certificate program.

"The ability to travel and visit places across the world is the foundation of relations between peoples and states," Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement. "Mutual recognition ... constitutes a major step toward the normalization of travel and tourism ties between Israel and the EU."

On Wednesday, Israel extended the use of electronic monitoring of people in quarantine. However, entry to swimming pools will no longer require proof of immunity, according to new regulations approved by the cabinet Tuesday.

The Health Ministry reported Wednesday that the R number, the average number of people each carrier infects, rose for a fifth straight day and now stands at 1.06, as the country shuts its testing centers for the one-day Yom Kippur holiday that starts in the evening.

The ministry added that the number of serious cases in Israel currently stands at 650, a shade down from the 662 of the previous day. Unvaccinated Israelis – who account for 17 percent of the population eligible for a vaccine – make up two-thirds of serious cases.

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