Israel closes its borders to all foreigners for two weeks to contain the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 of which there is already a first case in the country.
The inter-ministerial coronavirus cabinet has met this Saturday night urgently for more than three hours and has decided the closure of airports to international flights from around the world, as well as reimposing mandatory quarantine on returning Israelis.
Israel thus becomes the first country in the world to fully shield its borders in the face of this new variant and the new restrictions will take effect early Monday.
The Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday a first case of contagion with the new variant – an Israeli citizen from Malawi – and there are currently at least seven other suspected casess from being infected with omicron.
Quarantine of three days for those vaccinated and seven for those who are not
Israeli citizens returning to the country from abroad must undergo a three-day quarantine if they are vaccinated and seven days if they are not; and in both cases they will need a Negative PCR before leaving isolation.
For foreigners who, under exceptional cases, may enter Israel, they must do quarantine in the so-called “covid hotels” controlled by the state and under strict surveillance.
Israel decided on Friday include 50 African countries -all except the Maghreb and Egypt- on the “red list” before the appearance of the new variant, much more contagious and resistant as it has more than 30 mutations, which prohibits traveling to and from those places under a fine of NIS 5,000 (1,386 euros).
The number of people who can meet at public events is reduced
Returning Israelis and permanent residents from one of the “red list” countries will have to complete a week of quarantine at a “covid hotel” and then another week at home.
“Those who have not been vaccinated with the booster dose are voluntarily giving up having that essential protection at a critical moment,” Prime Minister Naftali Benet said at the start of the meeting, in addition to encouraging families to immunize. to children between the ages of 5 and 11, a campaign that Israel started this week.
” red list “.
The government has also decided to reduce the number of people who can gather at public events, going from 100 to 50, presenting the Green Passport, which certifies that they are people vaccinated or recovered from covid-19, although they they hold the events for the Hanuka holiday, one of the most important of the Jewish calendar that begins this Sunday.