Crowded streets in St. Petersburg during recent surge in COVID cases in Russia

Israel to mull banning travel to European COVID hotspots, health official says

Professor Nachman Ash says number of infected passengers arriving at airport remains low thanks to booster shot which is still effective; health expert concerned variants could enter from Europe

Attila Somfalvi |
Published: 11.14.21, 14:15
Health Ministry Director General Professor Nachman Ash said on Sunday that Israel might consider banning travel to European destinations with high COVID infection rates out of concern over the surge of cases there.
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  • Speaking to Ynet, Ash said Israel must limit the danger of new variants of COVID-19, entering the country, while allowing a normal life to continue.
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    סנט פטרבורג רוסיה
    סנט פטרבורג רוסיה
    Crowded streets in St. Petersburg during recent surge in COVID cases in Russia
    (Photo: EPA)
    "This is what we've been trying to do over the past few months and that is no simple task," he said.
    Ash said there was no discussion currently, to change the policy, which allows tourists to visit the country or to prevent Israelis from travel, but some countries may be classified as red zones, areas Israelis are not permitted to enter.
    "We consider the data on a weekly basis and thus far, the number of people entering Israel who have been confirmed to have been infected, remains low," he said.
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    מסיבת עיתונאים במשרד הבריאות
    מסיבת עיתונאים במשרד הבריאות
    Director General of the Health Ministry Nachman Ash
    (Photo: GIl Yohanan)
    Ash attributes that fact to the booster shot administered since late July. "Most people traveling abroad have been vaccinated with three doses and are protected from infection," he said.
    He also said that the efficacy of the booster shot is being monitored and remains high thus far.
    "We hope it will be effective for longer than six months," he said.
    Ash said he expected pediatric COVID vaccines to be approved and that a drive to inoculate children ages 5 to 11 to begin as soon as the vaccines arrive.
    "I hope they will be here within days. I cannot say definitely when but we will begin vaccinating young children by next week or the week after," Ash said.
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    ילדים מתחסנים בארה"ב
    ילדים מתחסנים בארה"ב
    An American child receives her COVID jab last week
    (Photo: Reuters)

    Head of Infectious Disease at the Sheba Medical Center Professor Galia Rahav said she would advise Israelis not to travel to Europe at this time.
    "The booster shots appear to provide a good protection from infections," Rahav told Ynet on Sunday, "but with new variants appearing, there is a risk," she said.


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