Israel to lift coronavirus restrictions on air travel

Coronavirus restrictions on Israelis wishing to travel abroad will be lifted, starting on Friday, according to the Health and Transportation Ministries.

Under the current lockdown regulations, only Israelis in special circumstances and those, who had booked flights before a nationwide lockdown began, are permitted to take international flights.

Israelis are currently limited to a one-kilometre radius around their homes, barring exceptions such as travelling for essential work.

The decision on air travel, passed by the coronavirus cabinet on Wednesday night determines that “as of Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, it will be possible to leave one’s home for a flight up to eight hours before the planned departure’’.

This is the first measure taken to ease restrictions, the rest of which will remain in place until at least midnight Sunday.

If Israelis travel to so-called “green countries” with low coronavirus infection numbers, they do not require quarantine upon their return.

Israel initially gained swift control of the pandemic with strict lockdown measures imposed in March, but its caseload began to rise sharply again once these were eased in late May.

Israel’s second lockdown has been in place since Sept. 18.

Since last Friday, the health ministry began registering a downward trend in the number of daily coronavirus infections.

The ministry said on Thursday that there were 1,994 new infections the previous day, down from a daily record of 9,000 in recent weeks.

Of the tests taken on Wednesday, 5.4 per cent were positive, about a third of the rate at the height of the coronavirus crisis. (dpa/NAN)


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