After cracking down on international travel in recent weeks due to the fast-spreading omicron variant, Israel is readying to welcome back travelers from more than 200 countries – but not the United States.
Starting Sunday, vaccinated and recovered foreign nationals from counties on Israel’s “orange list” will be allowed to enter so long as they are fully vaccinated and meet entry requirements such as pre- and post-departure testing.
Countries from Israel’s “red list” – which includes the U.S. – cannot enter unless they receive approval from an exceptions committee, according to Israel’s Ministry of Health. The red list also includes the United Kingdom, Mexico, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
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The easing of restrictions is set to come six weeks after Israel issued a ban on foreign national travelers. The ban went into effect on Nov. 28, one day after the country detected its first case of the omicron variant within its borders.
Since then, COVID-19 cases have spiked. Israel reported nearly 27,000 confirmed cases the week of Dec. 20, nearly three times that reported the week prior, according to the World Health Organization.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.