WASHINGTON — Israel was added to the “Do Not Travel” list by the US State Department on Aug. 10 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.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Israel due to Covid-19, indicating a very high level of Covid-19 in the country,” read the advisory.

“Your risk of contracting Covid-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC’s specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.”

Further, the State Department has laid an advisory ‘High Risk Area Travelers‘ where they have warned people not to visit certain high-risk countries and areas both because of local conditions.

The advisory has pointed out that they are limited in the ability to provide consular services in those places.

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 Covid-19 cases in Israel has increased in the past couple of months despite more than 60 percent of the population being vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

Israeli media has reported that many new cases are among those who have received the vaccines.

Israel was one of the first countries to roll out a vaccine program 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 Aug.9, 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 Feb. 14, when it recorded 5,190. Aug. 9 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 on the morning of Aug.10.

Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash said on Aug. 9 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.
(With inputs from ANI)


Edited by Amrita Das and Pallavi Mehra

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