Israel shuts borders to all foreigners in response to new Omicron Covid-19 variant

The travel ban will come into effect at midnight and last 14 days.

Zi Shan Kow | November 28, 2021, 01:41 PM

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Israel announced on Nov. 27 that it will ban all foreigners from entering the country in response to the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.

The Omicron variant is considered a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO), citing its "large number of mutations".

Israel's travel ban

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement that the ban, pending government approval, would last 14 days, reported Reuters.

The ban will come into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday (Nov. 28 and 29).

Israeli nationals entering Israel will have to undergo a three-day mandatory quarantine if they're vaccinated, or a seven-day quarantine if they're unvaccinated, according to the BBC.

Reuters reported that Israel has had one confirmed case of Omicron and seven suspected cases.

"Our working hypotheses are that the variant is already in nearly every country," said Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.

He added that "the vaccine is effective, although we don't yet know to what degree."

This blanket ban on all foreigners came after Israel imposed a travel ban on all non-Israelis from most African states on Nov. 26.

Israel had just opened its borders to fully vaccinated tourists for the first time since the pandemic on Nov. 1, reported The Times of Israel.

Transmission of the Omicron variant

First detected in South Africa, the variant has also been found in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Hong Kong, according to Al Jazeera.

While there are concerns that the new variant is more transmissible and resistant to current vaccines, research about the Omicron variant is still ongoing.

The Omicron variant has not yet been detected in Singapore. Singapore has tightened its border measures for seven African countries.

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