Portugal bans entry to all Israelis over virus concerns

Portugal on Wednesday became the first European country to ban entry to Israelis, after the European Union took the country off its COVID-19 safe-travel list on Monday.

The Portuguese ban covers vaccinated Israelis and those able to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test.

Italy has also tightened restrictions on Israeli visitors, announcing that Israelis would only be allowed entry if they were vaccinated, had recovered from the virus within the last six months or were able to present a negative coronavirus test. Unvaccinated Israelis or those who have not recovered from the virus will require quarantine upon entry, according to the Italian government.

In addition to Israel, the European Union on Monday also removed the United States, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia from its safe-travel list. The E.U. move is non-binding, and the 27 individual E.U. member states may decide on their own whether or not to implement the recommendation.

In a statement released on Monday, the European Council recommended that “nonessential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed [on the safe list] … is subject to temporary travel restriction.”

The statement went on to add that “This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on nonessential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travelers.”

The European Council updates the safe travel list every two weeks based on criteria related to coronavirus infection levels. The threshold for remaining on the list is having not more than 75 new COVID cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days.

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