JERUSALEM: Israel is to shut its borders to all foreigners later Sunday in a bid to stem the unfold of the brand new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, authorities mentioned.
“The entry of overseas nationals into Israel is banned aside from instances authorised by a particular committee,” the prime minister’s workplace mentioned in a press release, including that the measure would take impact on Sunday night.
Israeli residents will likely be required to current a damaging PCR check and quarantine themselves for 3 days if they’ve been vaccinated towards the coronavirus and 7 days in the event that they haven’t.
It was solely 4 weeks in the past that Israel reopened its borders to overseas vacationers after a protracted closure on account of Covid.
The measure have been determined by a cupboard committee tasked with overseeing Israel’s Covid response and should be authorised by the entire cupboard on Sunday morning.
The federal government’s newest announcement got here simply hours earlier than the beginning at sunset of the eight-day-long Jewish vacation of Hanukkah, the Pageant of Lights.
It already imposed a collection of emergency measures late Friday to guard its closely vaccinated inhabitants after figuring out a case of the brand new Covid-19 variant.
The well being ministry mentioned the brand new pressure that was first detected by South Africa — referred to as B.1.1.529 — was found in an individual who had arrived from Malawi.
Two extra suspected instances have been detected in folks coming back from overseas, it mentioned, including that each one three, who had been vaccinated, have been positioned in quarantine. The federal government later introduced one other suspected case.
Scientists in South Africa mentioned on Thursday that that they had detected the brand new B.1.1.529 variant with at the least 10 mutations, in contrast with two for Delta or three for Beta.
The pressure was of “critical concern” and had been blamed for a surge in infections, the authorities in South Africa mentioned.
It has additionally been detected in Botswana and Hong Kong amongst travellers from South Africa, in addition to in Belgium.
The brand new variant “is regarding and has the potential to be very harmful. We’re elevating a crimson flag,” Israeli Prome Minister Naftali Bennett mentioned late Friday.
He mentioned Israel would order 10 million PCR check kits.
Israel was one of many first international locations to launch vaccines towards the coronavirus final yr, due to a take care of Pfizer that gave it entry to thousands and thousands of doses in change for knowledge on the vaccine’s efficacy.
Its preliminary vaccine rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab was among the many world’s quickest, and greater than 5.7 million of the nation’s 9 million folks are actually totally vaccinated.