JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli ministers on Monday agreed to ban travel to the United States, Canada and eight other countries amid the rapid global spread of the Omigron variant of the corona virus.
The decision was announced by Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett’s office after a cabinet vote.
The extraordinary decision to add the United States to the Red List comes amid a rise in coronavirus infections in Israel and marks a shift in epidemiological practices between the two allies. The United States will join the growing list of European countries and other places where Israelis are banned from traveling, and returning travelers should be in isolation.
The parliamentary committee is expected to give final approval to the move. Once approved, the travel ban will take effect from midnight on Wednesday.
In Israel, Omigron cases have been on the rise in recent weeks, causing it to close its borders and restrict travel in late November. Foreigners will not be allowed in and all Israelis coming from abroad must be isolated, including those who have been vaccinated.
Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey were the other countries added to the travel ban as of Wednesday.
Israel launched a world-leading vaccination campaign earlier this year, and more than 4.1 million of Israel’s 9.3 million people have received the third dose of Pfizer / Bioendech vaccine.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett urged parents to vaccinate their children and announce the beginning of the “fifth wave” of epidemics in the country. As of Sunday, the Ministry of Health had registered 175 cases of the new variant.
There have been at least 8,232 deaths from the corona virus in Israel since the outbreak began.
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