Israel and Greece Planning to Open a Travel Corridor for Vaccinated Travelers

Israel and Greece to Open a Travel Corridor for Vaccinated Travelers

Although travel is currently not allowed between Israel and Greece, the countries are planning for when that will no longer be the case.

On Monday, they agreed to not impose any restrictions on vaccinated passengers traveling between them once they reopen to each other. In other words, according to Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minster, “without any limitations, no self-isolation, nothing.”

These so-called “green passports” will go into effect when flights between the countries resume. This is expected to occur after Passover, which runs from March 27 to April 4.

However, Greece is not the only country that Israel has been having this type of negotiation with. Army Radio reported that Israel is discussing a similar arrangement with Estonia while Ynet has reported that negotiations are also underway between Israel and Cyprus, Georgia, Romania, Serbia and Seychelles.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece’s prime minister, has also gone on record that his country would likely welcome vaccinated individuals from other countries.

He has also been pressuring the European Union to adopt “green passports,” but that has not received the support that he has been hoping for.

Some common reservations that opponents have are related to its possible impact on privacy and discrimination. Regardless, he views this arrangement with Israel as a “trial run” for possible similar partnerships with other countries.

Regardless of whether or not “green passports” are extended to other countries, Greece is planning to reopen by June 1, primarily because of the increasing numbers of people getting vaccinated around the world. Amongst its focuses is the United Kingdom as British tourists make up a substantial percentage of its tourism numbers. In fact, many have already booked vacation stays there for this summer.

During the meeting in Jerusalem, Israel, between Netanyahu and Mitsotakis that resulted in this agreement, the Greek leader also congratulated his Israeli counterpart on the speed in which his citizens are being vaccinated.

Israel has at least partially vaccinated about 40% of its 9 million people while more than 20% of Israelis have received two doses.

Conversely, Greece has vaccinated about 3% of its 11 million people.

Both Greece and Israel are looking at these moves to boost their economies, which depend heavily on international tourism, as they struggle to rebound from the financial struggles that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed worldwide, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, international arrivals dropped 74% in 2020, and a billion fewer people arrived in international destinations.

For the time being, those who are allowed to enter Greece need to have taken a PCR test within 72 hours of their flight and present a negative result. That will then be followed by a seven-day quarantine. Meanwhile, Israel is currently not allowing any incoming international flights.
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