On Sunday, Israel’s health ministry suggested that Israelis be barred from visiting the United States, and it put numerous European countries to its Covid “red list,” which is intended at limiting the spread of the Omicron form.
Given the hundreds of thousands of dual nationalities and tight relations between the two nations, barring Israeli citizens and residents from travelling to the United States would be a huge move for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government.
Israel is in the midst of its fifth wave of Covid-19, according to Bennett.
“The Omicron version is already here,” he said after a cabinet meeting at a press conference, “and it’s spreading fast.”
Bennett had previously stated that he would continue to limit travel to avoid more lockdowns.
He said that Israel gained “valuable time” by halting travel when the Omicron version was discovered in South Africa last month.
“European countries are either in lockdown or on their approach to becoming in lockdown,” he warned, emphasising that “time is running out” for Israel.
Israeli citizens and residents will be barred from travelling to France, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Finland, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates, according to a recommendation made by the Ministry of Health on Sunday.
The United Kingdom and Denmark, as well as the majority of Africa, were already on the blacklist.
In addition to the United States, the health ministry suggested that Canada, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland, and Turkey be red-listed, a recommendation that is still awaiting government and legislative approval.
When a country is marked red, Israeli citizens and residents who are already overseas must quarantine for a week after returning home.
Unless they have specific permission, non-resident foreigners from all nations are forbidden from entering.
Bennett urged Israelis to work from home and urged parents to have their children vaccinated.
“Our goal is to ride out this storm as little as possible without harming the economy or education,” he said.
“The best approach to do it is to slow down the infection rate while also vaccination Israeli youngsters as soon as feasible.”
The chairman of Israel’s national expert group on Covid-19, Ran Balicer, told AFP that the travel limits were allowing most Israelis to go about their daily lives as usual.
“The more stringent you are about prohibiting imports and delaying local transmission, the more lenient you can be about disrupting the economy and daily life,” he said.
Balicer predicted that Israel will loosen its restrictions after local Omicron transmission increased, reducing the number of cases imported from abroad.
He stated that it was unclear whether the strain constituted a danger of serious disease or death.
More than 4.1 million of Israel’s estimated 9.3 million individuals have gotten three coronavirus vaccine doses, with the country’s current vaccination schedule targeting youngsters aged 5 to 11.
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