Israel set to shut borders in response to Omicron variant

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Israel set to shut borders in response to Omicron variant
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Israel has unveiled plans to ban all foreigners from entering the country.

If the travel restrictions are approved, Israel will become the first nation in the world to completely shut its borders in response to the Omicron variant.

There are fears that the new strain could be more contagious than other variants and more resistant to vaccines.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced that the ban is set to last for 14 days.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said: “Our working hypotheses is that the variant is nearly in every country…and that the vaccine is effective, although we don’t yet know to what degree.”

Israelis entering from abroad will be forced to quarantine regardless of their vaccination status.

The ban will come into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday.

Israel will use phone-tracking technology to locate carriers of the new variant, Bennett added.

Omnicron cases have been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany and Britain.

Israel has confirmed one case of the variant so far, with seven suspected cases. It is not known if the person who tested positive for Omicron was vaccinated.

But three of the seven suspected cases were fully vaccinated, the ministry said on Saturday, and three had not returned from travel abroad recently.

Around 57% of Israel‘s 9.4 million population is fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.

Israel has recorded 1.3 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 8,000 fatalities since the pandemic began.

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