The European Union (EU) has decided to gradually lift travel restrictions on people entering the bloc from Israel.

So far, people coming from Israel are only to be allowed to enter the EU if their reasons for travelling are deemed essential, although some countries, for example Greece, have already opened their borders to vaccinated travellers from the Jewish state, reports dpa news agency

This means that the EU recommends allowing non-essential travel from seven countries, namely Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

The bloc also recommends allowing Chinese citizens in, but this is subject to confirmation of reciprocity.

At the outset of the pandemic, all EU countries except the Republic of Ireland, and non-members Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland, banned all but essential travel.

The ban was slightly eased in early July last year, but the epidemiological situation in only a handful of countries was deemed good enough to allow people to travel from there to the bloc.

Exceptions apply to EU residents and their families travelling from countries whose citizens are not yet allowed to re-enter.

It is ultimately up to the member states to decide who they allow onto their territory, however.

The list of countries deemed safe is regularly re-assessed, and inclusion is based on the number of new coronavirus infections registered within the past 14 days.

Other factors include the measures a country takes to restrict the virus’ spread, and its overall response to the pandemic.

The European Commission proposed an overhaul of the rules, suggesting allowing vaccinated people in.

–IANS

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