1 FEBRUARY 2021
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Israel has banned passenger flights in and out of the country, the government has announced, with immediate effect. A review was expected today.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was emphatic: “Other than rare exceptions, we are closing the sky hermetically to prevent the entry of the virus variants and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign,” he added.
Israel’s borders have largely been closed to foreigners during the pandemic, with only Israeli passport holders allowed entry.
The country has been under a third national lockdown since 27 December 2020.
Israel has expanded its rapid vaccination drive to include late teens in what the government described as an effort to enable upcoming exams. Israel has the fastest vaccine distribution rate in the world.
Sharon Bershadsky, director of Israel Tourist Office in the UK, said: “Israel has shown itself to be a world-leader in the vaccination roll-out scheme, working hard to open its borders to tourists as soon as possible. With the new virus variants appearing across the world, the government has decided to close the borders in order to prevent entry of the new variants into the country and to allow for the continuation and the quick progress of the vaccination programme.”
Domestic flights between Tel Aviv and Eilat continue.
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