Besides other nine countries, Israel bans travel to Hungary from the 22nd of December due to high infection rates and rising Omicron cases.
As a result of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and the ever-increasing number of infections worldwide, Israel has introduced new travel restrictions. Visits by Israelis to South Africa and the vast majority of African countries have been already banned in early December. Not long after that, nine other countries – the UK, Denmark, France, Spain, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates were added to the “red” list, with travel bans already in effect from midnight on Sunday.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Health proposed that 10 more countries should be added to the high-risk areas from the 22nd of December due to their high infection rates. Accordingly, Israel bans travel to the following countries:
the United States, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey as well as Hungary.
The decision was made based on data examined by Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett who predicts a “significant outbreak” in Israel within three weeks. The peak of the wave is expected to exceed the fourth wave caused by the Delta variant which began in June. In addition to the recently annunced travel restrictions, the Prime Minister urged employers to re-introduce work-from-home arrangements as soon as possible.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Health announced that 40 more people had been identified as Omicron carrier. Following that, the number of Omicron infections has increased to 175 in Israel. The majority of the patients either got infected abroad or were in contact with people who transmitted the virus outside of the country. Meanwhile, 17 new carriers got infected in the local community. The only good news is that, so far, there has been only one seriously hospitalised Omicron patient in Israel, who happened to be a non-vaccinated person.
As the Hungarian news portal Turizmus.com reports, Israelis returning from the banned states will be taken to a designated hotel at the airport. Passengers are obliged to stay in mandatory quarantine until their first test results are received at the airport. If their test is negative, they can return home where they must remain in quarantine for seven days even if they have received all the three doses of the vaccine. They can only leave their home once a negative test is produced. Israelis arriving from the high-risk areas will be subject to a three-day home quarantine which lasts until the second negative test result. So far, the new restrictions are in effect until 29th December.
The countries mentioned above on the high-risk “red” list can only be visited with exceptional permission given by a government committee.
After the increasing number of Israeli tourists visiting Hungary this summer, a significant decline is expected in December. Thanks to the expanding number of flights between Budapest and Tel Aviv, the planes mainly carried Israeli tourists and dual citizens until the end of October, flying with an average load factor of over 80% since the restart. However, this new travel restriction, as well as the presumably negative evolution of the epidemiological situation in Hungary might cause a dramatic decrease in the number of visitors.