In April and March more than Million passenger departures from Israel were recorded

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by Ifi Reporter Category:Communication May 8, 2022

The long queues at Ben Gurion Airport where the Israelis stood during the week of Passover are also reflected in the data: in April this year, 685.6 thousand passenger departures were recorded abroad, close to the numbers before the corona eruption in 2019, when 798.7 thousand passengers left the country.
On the other hand, despite a significant recovery, the increase in inbound tourism is still far from the data before the crisis and stands at about half of April 2019. Due to the Corona restrictions in 2020 as a whole, 887.1 thousand foreign arrivals to Israel were recorded, and in 2021 only 402.3 thousand arrivals, compared to 4.9 million in 2019.
This year, 216.4 thousand visitors entered Israel in April, compared to 428.1 thousand in April 2019. The reason for this, among other things, is various restrictions that are still imposed on incoming tourists, such as isolation until a negative result of the corona test at the entrance to Israel. The obligation to perform the corona test upon landing will be abolished as of May 20th.
The corona crisis has led to an unprecedented low in tourism worldwide. The number of Israelis leaving the country, which recorded an impressive increase in the years before the crisis and reached 9.2 million in 2019, dropped to 1.5 million in 2020, and rose slightly to 3 million in 2021. In March 2022, with the removal of most corona restrictions in the world and in Israel and the decline of the last wave, a recovery began in the number of departures abroad, which continued throughout April.
At the beginning of January 2022, the decision to allow tourists to enter Israel, who are defined as vaccinated or recovering by the Ministry of Health, came into force, and in March the permit expanded to all tourists to Israel (vaccinated and unvaccinated), subject to certain entry and residence conditions.
The restrictions affected the data and it seems that as their removal expanded, the number of entrants increased: in January 2022 there were 46.7 thousand visitors to Israel, in February 90.4 thousand entries, in March 168.9 thousand entries and in April 216.4 thousand entries - the highest number since the Corona crisis.
On Passover, Israelis at Ben Gurion Airport stood for long hours waiting for check-in and security checks before the flights. The congestion was due, among other things, to the severe shortage of manpower in the aviation industry. 4,000 employees, almost double the number after the crisis, and the expropriation of 30% of the check-in counters of the airlines at the request of the Ministry of Health and the lack of proper preparation by the Airports Authority increased the congestion.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced today (Sunday) that the obligation to be tested for the corona virus at Ben Gurion Airport will be abolished on May 20, following the reduction in morbidity. In addition, as of Tuesday, citizens of foreign countries flying to Israel will not be required to perform a PCR test, and they will also be allowed to be tested in an antigen test in the 24 hours prior to departure. The Ministry of Health and the Airports Authority have decided to establish a mechanism that will allow the test system at Ben Gurion Airport to be reactivated if necessary.
Corona tests for all those entering Israel will be stopped on May 20. This is a continuation of our policy all the way through - giving all the tools to maintain health, but where there is no need and no need, leaving no restrictions on the public. We will maintain the competence of the test system at Ben Gurion Airport and throughout the country, and we will be able to reactivate it as quickly as necessary.
At the end of April, the rate of returnees from abroad who were found to be positive for the virus among the subjects was about 10%. Professionals who supported the continuation of the tests stated that they are important mainly due to the detection of new variants upon entry into Israel. Until the policy takes effect, the Ministry of Health plans to find alternatives to the sweeping testing policy, and to formulate a mechanism for testing samples that will still allow the penetration of new variants.
Recently, several cases of BA4 and BA5 variants have been discovered in Israel - variants of the Omicron family, which so far have no evidence that they are more violent or fundamentally different from the BA2 variant, which accounts for more than 90% of cases. The health system's concern and preparations for the sixth wave focus on a scenario in which a combined variant will be discovered - contagious like the omicron, and more violent, similar to the Delta.
Until the change in policy, all those landing at Ben Gurion Airport are required to undergo a corona test at a cost of NIS 80 (or NIS 60 if purchased in advance), and stay in solitary confinement for 24 hours or until a negative result is obtained. Many settle for presenting a negative PCR test performed up to 72 hours before the flight, from which are vaccinated and recovered.

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