Israel is closing its borders to all foreigners in response to the new coronavirus variant
Israel has announced it will ban all foreigners from entering. So, Israel is the first country to completely close its borders in response to a new, potentially more contagious coronavirus variant. He also announced that he would use counter-terrorism phone tracking technology to limit the spread of the Omicron variant.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban would last 14 days. Officials hope that during this period there will be more information on how effective COVID-19 vaccines are against Omicron, the variant first detected in South Africa.
The border will be blocked for 14 days
Israelis entering the country, including those who are vaccinated, will be forced into quarantine, Bennett said. The ban will take effect at midnight, between Sunday and Monday. On Friday, a travel ban was imposed on foreigners coming from most African countries.
Shin Bet Counter-Terrorism Agency's phone tracking technology will be used to locate the carriers of the new variant, to limit its transmission to others, Bennett said.
The variant, which has also been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, has caused worldwide concern and a wave of travel restrictions, although epidemiologists say such restrictions may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating globally.
Israel has so far confirmed one case of Omicron, with seven suspicious cases. The Ministry of Health did not say whether the person confirmed with the new strain was vaccinated. Three of the seven suspected cases have been completely vaccinated, the ministry said on Saturday.
About 57% of Israel's 9,4 million population is completely vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health. This means that they have either received a third injection of Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine, or less than five months have passed since they received the second dose. Israel has recorded 1,3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 8.000 deaths since the pandemic began.