Swapping Shots: Cyprus, Israel Strike Deal for Vaccinated Tourists

February 15, 2021

JERUSALEM —After reaching a similar agreement with Greece, Israel has made a deal with Cyprus for tourists to visit each other’s countries as long as they can show proof of having been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The agreement between the two Mediterranean countries is a step toward restoring their tourism industries, both ravaged by the still ongoing pandemic that has nearly crushed the sector, The Times of Israel reported.

“This opens up the possibility of restarting tourism in the near future,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Cypriot tourists in Israel and Israeli tourists in Cyprus,” the close-by countries having big markets from each.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said he expected the deal to go into effect on April 1 as lockdowns have been eased in hopes of restoring tourism brought down hard in 2020 by the Coronavirus that kept most people from traveling.

Anastasiades also said he was “very interested” in getting more details about a possible COVID-19 treatment being developed by Israel’s Ichilov hospital and said that Cyprus would participate in upcoming clinical trials, the paper said.

Israel has pushed vaccinations and so far some 3.8 million people have received the first of two required shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine while 2.4 million have received the second shot, which comes three weeks later.

The country of nine million people, currently easing restrictions after ending its third nationwide lockdown this month, is aiming to vaccinate everyone over the age of 16 by the end of March, the report added.

Israel has recorded 723,038 coronavirus cases, including 5,368 deaths. The country’s airport remains closed to non-emergency travel for the time being.


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