Israel has approved requiring arrivals from 18 countries to enter mandatory quarantine after landing in Ben Gurion airport as of August 11, regardless of vaccination status or age. The measure was initially supposed to come into effect on Friday, August 6, but the Health Ministry pushed it to next Wednesday following criticism.
A Knesset panel approved the measure, which would see arrivals coming from the United States, Greece, Italy, Germany and several other countries entering mandatory quarantine upon landing in Israel.
The list of new countries includes Ukraine, Italy, Iceland, Eswatini, the United States, Botswana, Bulgaria, Germany, the Netherlands, Tanzania, Greece, Malawi, Egypt, the Czech Republic, France, Rwanda and Tunisia.
Arrivals from the United Arab Emirates, Guatemala, Honduras, Zimbabwe, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Fiji, Colombia, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, Belarus, Georgia, South Africa, India, Turkey, Mexico, Spain, Scotland, Kirgizstan, Cyprus, Russia are already required to self-quarantine.
The Seychelles, Zambia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Uganda, Liberia, Panama, Kenya will be taken off the list on Friday.
Passengers from the countries on the list, including those are who vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, are required to quarantine for at least seven days with at least two negative tests.
Travelers who break quarantine are subject to a fine of NIS 5,000 (around $1,500 USD).
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Bennett: Further restrictions needed
This comes hours after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke on Tuesday with the coalition party heads about the rising COVID infection cases, hours before the coronavirus cabinet meeting that's expected to take place this afternoon.
Bennett said that further restrictions need to be already imposed, adding that within twenty days the number of critical patients is expected to rise to 800.
Last month, Israel reduced the mandatory quarantine period to seven days, following the Health Ministry's recommendations. The proposed quarantine period for unvaccinated individuals who were in contact with a confirmed carrier or returned from abroad to be shortened to a week from the current two weeks without taking a COVID-19 test, or 10 days with one.
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In addition to the 3,818 new COVID cases diagnosed on Monday, Israel also recorded a four-month high for patients in serious condition, with 221 people.
The percentage of positive coronavirus tests is also steadily rising, with 3.78 percent of Monday's tests returning positive.
Since the pandemic began in Israel, 6,492 people have died of COVID-19.