Israel's Health Ministry recommends adding US to travel ban list

i24NEWS

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Ben-Gurion International Airport, December 19, 2021
Flash90Ben-Gurion International Airport, December 19, 2021

If approved, measures expected to come into effect from Tuesday evening at midnight

Israel's Health Ministry on Sunday recommended that the government designate the United States as a "red" country, along with Canada, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey.

Travel is banned to destinations categorized as red, or high-risk, for Israeli citizens and permanent residents and foreigners from these countries are not allowed to enter Israel. 

Special permission may be requested with Israel's Exceptions Committee.

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The recommendations were raised during the weekly ministerial meeting and should be submitted for approval to the coronavirus cabinet, then to the parliament's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

If approved, the measures are expected to come into effect from Tuesday evening at midnight.

"I will not support any further restrictions until aid to the airlines is organized," Transport Minister Merav Michaeli warned.

"We are abandoning thousands of employees who have no other means of subsistence, while no action is taken by the Knesset at present and nothing is organized to support them," she said.

"This is a vital workforce, and the airlines are a service that the State of Israel must maintain," she continued, adding that British Airways had already announced the cancellation of its flights to Israel starting tomorrow.

"Who other than Israeli airlines will bring Israeli citizens back from overseas?" She asked, calling on the government to come to the aid of the companies "this week."

The Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Sunday approved the government's decision to add the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Finland, France and Sweden to the list from Monday. 

The group of red countries already includes the United Kingdom, Denmark, South Africa, and several dozen other African countries.

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