Covid: Israel closes borders to foreigners for 14 days due to Omicron variant

Israel is closing its borders to all foreigners for 14 days due to the coronavirus variant Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa.

According to local media reports, the decision will come into effect after midnight tonight, with the cabinet’s approval.

Israel has so far reported 1 case of coronavirus originating from Omikron.

Numerous countries, including Turkey and the UK, have imposed travel restrictions on South Africa and neighboring countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) placed the coronavirus variant, defined as B.1.1.529, in the category of variant of concern. The variant was named Omicron (Omikron in Turkish), the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.

WHO has announced that this variant has the potential to make people sick again, according to preliminary determinations. The organization announced that it may take several weeks to fully understand the variant’s features.

The Israeli coronavirus scientific committee, convened on Saturday with an urgent agenda, decided to take some new measures. However, these measures will come into effect with the approval of the government cabinet.

In addition to the ban on entry for non-Israeli citizens, a mandatory 3-day quarantine for Israelis who have received two doses of the vaccine upon entry; Unvaccinated Israeli citizens are required to quarantine for 7 days.

The cabinet also authorized Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, to track down people diagnosed with coronavirus.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement that phone tracking technology will be used to track infected people.

On Saturday morning, Israeli authorities added 50 African countries to the red list.

According to this decision, all Israeli citizens returning from these red-listed countries will be subject to hotel quarantine and coronavirus testing.

According to the American Johns Hopkins University data, more than 1.3 million Covid cases have been reported in Israel since the beginning of the pandemic, while more than 8,100 people died due to these cases.

developments on Saturday

TurkeyHealth Minister Fahrettin Koca, in the message he shared on Twitter, said that the Omicron variant was not seen in the country. Stating that they are closely following the developments, Minister Koca said, “The most common variant in Turkey is the Delta variant.”

EnglandSome new measures have been introduced in . Accordingly, everyone who will enter the country is obliged to have a PCR test on the second day and to be isolated at home until the test result comes.

AustriaThousands of people protested the government’s plans to become vaccinated.

SwitzerlandTighten quarantine measures for passengers arriving from some European and African countries. Today, a referendum is being held in the public sphere on whether a Covid passport should be a requirement.

USA Foreign Minister Antony Blinken praised the South African government for sharing information about the new variant with the world. Blinken said that South Africa’s transparency should set an example to the world.

Australia also banned entry from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Leshoto, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique and the Seychelles for 14 days. Non-Australian citizens who have been in these countries in the last 14 days are barred from entering Australia.