The US State Department on Tuesday (local time) added Israel on its “Do Not Travel” list amid a spike of Covid-19 cases in the country.
US State Department issued a travel advisory informing Americans about the move. The advisory list, which is updated weekly, is primarily based on US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notices (THNs) and secondary factors such as commercial flight availability, restrictions on US citizen entry and impediments to obtaining coronavirus test results within three calendar days, reported Sputnik. Israel is joined in the so-called Level Four category by other nations experiencing a surge in cases, including Iceland, France, Laos, Thailand, Eswatini, Aruba and French Polynesia.
The number of cases in Israel has increased in the past couple of months despite the fact that more than 60 per cent of the population has been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
Israeli media has reported that a large part of the new cases is among those who have received the vaccines, reported Sputnik.
Israel was one of the first countries in the world to roll out a vaccine programme, and the first to offer a third shot to adults over 60. Despite that, the number of people contracting COVID-19 continues to climb.
Israel recorded over 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the highest tally in over half a year, as it struggled to contain the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, the Health Ministry said.
Israel last saw over 5,000 cases in a single day on February 14, when it recorded 5,190. Monday’s tally, which does not include the last two hours of the day, will likely be even higher when the full day’s count is announced Tuesday morning, reported Times of Israel.
Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash said earlier Monday that his office was concerned by the increased rate of infections and would weigh expanding restrictions, including limits on businesses, in the coming days.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz also spoke out against implementing a new lockdown, and insisted that less draconian measures could bring numbers down, reported Times of Israel.