Israel to close border, airports to non-citizen international travelers for 14 days due to Omicron variant

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Israel has approved a measure closing the country to non-citizen arrivals for two weeks due to fear of the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

The Times of Israel reported Saturday that the Israeli cabinet has approved a ban on international arrivals of non-citizens for two weeks and imposed mandatory quarantine for Israeli citizens who are arriving.

“#BREAKING: No foreigners will be allowed to enter Israel in the next 2 weeks following #Omnicron variant,” Israeli journalist Amichai Stein tweeted Saturday. “All Israelis returning from abroad, will need between 3-7 days quarantine.”

According to Reuters, Israel will also reintroduce counter-terrorism phone tracking to help contain the spread of the virus and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement that the ban, pending government approval, would last 14 days. 

So far, Israel has reported one case of the Omicron variant to go along with seven suspected cases. 

The United States has said it will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries starting Monday over concerns of the “heavily mutated” COVID-19 omicron variant, senior administration officials said.

The Biden administration will follow advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and restrict travel from several African nations following the identification of variant B.1.1.529, which appears to be highly contagious among young people. 

“This morning I was briefed by my chief medical advisor, Dr. Tony Fauci, and the members of our COVID response team, about the Omicron variant, which is spreading through Southern Africa,” Biden said in a statement. “As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries. These new restrictions will take effect on November 29.”

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned against hastily imposing travel restrictions linked to the B.1.1.529 variant, warning officials to avoid “knee-jerk responses,” the 27-nation European Union said it would propose stopping air travel from southern Africa.

Fox News’ Peter Aitken and Julia Musto contributed to this report



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