A partial cabinet meeting in Israel landed Cyprus in the doghouse, after ministers in the neighboring country recommended the island be off limits to Israeli travelers due to pandemic concerns.
The Republic of Cyprus, a popular destination for visitors from Israel, could be added to a list of countries Israelis are barred from traveling to over COVID fears.
If the measure is approved on Sunday, Cyprus along with Britain, Georgia, and Turkey would be added to a long list of banned destinations that include Russia, Mexico, South Africa, India, Argentina, Brazil, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Spain and Kyrgyzstan.
Israel has been a frontrunner in the fight against the pandemic, vaccinating quickly a large segment of the population but also not hesitating to impose tough measures on returning travelers as the Delta variant took a toll in a country jabbed with the Pfizer shot.
On Thursday, Israeli officials revised the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine, which was said to have dropped to 39% percent in the country.
Israel has led the fight against Covid, vaccinating quickly a segment of the population but also not hesitating to impose tough measures on returning travelers as the Delta variant took a toll
Vaccinated Israelis returning to their country must quarantine for 24 hours or until they test negative upon landing, while unvaccinated travelers have to quarantine for seven days and receive a negative test when the week is over.
Last month more than 1000 people had to be quarantined in a town outside Tel Aviv, where health officials suspected a family returning from Cyprus might have brought back an infection that started a local outbreak.
And last week, two Israelis on the Jewel of the Seas that departed from Cyprus were said to have tested positive on the fully vaccinated cruise to the Greek islands, while at least six crew members also tested positive according to reports.
The travel ban proposal came as another blow for the tourism industry in Cyprus, which is already in the red for travel within the European Union based on an ECDC evaluation.
Britain, Cyprus’ bread-and-butter market for incoming tourists, also has restrictions on the island, with travelers having to take PCR tests upon returning to the UK as well as quarantine at home for ten days if they are not doubly vaccinated.