Israel reopens borders to fully vaccinated Filipinos

The Israel Ministry of Tourism announced on Thursday that fully vaccinated Filipinos may now resume their travel to Israel for the first time in 18 months since it closed its borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting November 1, those who received two doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, Sinovac, or Sinopharm vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 14 days may now book their flight to the Ben Gurion Airport.

Those vaccinated with Sputnik will stay in isolation until a positive serological test result is obtained in addition to other requirements.

“With leading vaccination rates and endless opportunities for outdoor activities, we are eager to welcome visitors back with open arms–of course, at a safe social distance,” said Sammy Yahia, director of Tourism for India and Philippines.

Tourists must present their vaccine certificate that is not more than six months from their second dose. If it exceeds, a third dose or booster shot is required.

They are also required to fill out a passenger declaration form, perform a PCR test 72 hours before an outbound flight and upon arrival in Israel. They also need to stay in a temporary isolation facility until they receive negative results.

For those who tested positive and recovered for COVID-19, they must present proof of the results of a positive Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) at least 11 days prior to the date of entry but not more than 180 days upon leaving Israel.

“We have been awaiting this moment, to bring back international travellers into our country, for a very long time now. We’re ecstatic to share our country with everyone once again and I’m proud to be working closely with our Prime Minister Naftali Bennett among other Ministers within the country to ensure a thoughtful, safe return to tourism,” said Israel’s Minister of Tourism Yoel Razvozov.

In May 2021, the Israeli ministry conducted a pilot reopening program which initially allowed a select number of tour groups to enter the country.

Aside from Filipinos, all nationalities are now permitted to enter Israel except for countries it considers as red or “highest risk” destinations. Those who stayed in these countries 14 days before going to Israel will also be denied entry.—Giselle Ombay/LDF, GMA News

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