Middle East

Israel bans foreigners from entering for two weeks amid new COVID strain

14:04, 28 November 2021
Israel bans foreigners from entering for two weeks amid new COVID strain Photo: Stefan Kiefer

Israel said it would completely close its borders from all foreigners for 14 days to prevent further spreading of the new COVID-19 variant, the country’s media reported.

The ban has been already approved by Israeli authorities and is scheduled to start at midnight Sunday.

The period of prohibition which is 14 days was pronounced by Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

The citizens of Israel who return to their homeland would be ordered to present negative PCR tests upon arrival and complete the following self-isolation. The ones who were vaccinated are required to stay indoors for three days while the unvaccinated should self-isolate for a period of seven days.

Israel has confirmed only one case of the Omicron strain so far, nonetheless, there are seven more suspicious cases that are not yet fully examined. All seven people were placed in isolation including three of them who are vaccinated. The infected traveler has been to Malawi recently, Israel said on Saturday.

“The entry of foreign nationals into Israel is banned except for cases approved by a special committee,” the Prime Minister’s office stated.

The country has shut its borders just four weeks since its reopening for foreign travelers at the beginning of November. 

Prof Ran D. Balicer, the head of the government’s advisory panel on the pandemic said it was “better to act early and strictly” to suspend the spread of the new strain.

The variant has allegedly begun spreading from Africa and was already spotted in Belgium, the United Kingdom, Botswana, Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. 

Thus it triggered a global concern and numerous flight cancelations as more countries imposed travel restrictions to avoid the increase of new cases while some epidemiologists said it has been too late to stop Omicron from further spreading.