Health ministry recommends Israel limit travel to the US, Canada
A Health Ministry advisory committee in Israel recommended on Sunday that the U.S. be added to a list of “red” countries that are subject to COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
The ministry recommended that the U.S., along with Canada, Belgium, Italy, Germany and other places, be added to the list of countries designated as “red,” meaning Israelis cannot travel there and foreigners from those locations cannot enter Israel without special permission, according to Agence France-Presse.
If Israeli citizens or residents are already in a “red” country, they must quarantine when they return home, AFP added.
The same day, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett encouraged people to get vaccinated and to increase their pandemic-related precautions as the country battles its fifth COVID-19 wave. He did not, however, mention the health ministry’s advisory in his remarks, Reuters reported.
While acknowledging that omicron-related infections had thus far been kept at bay as Israel limited travel last month, Bennett did say that he anticipated a surge in infections in the next few weeks, Reuters added.
“The time we bought is running out,” Bennett said, per the news service. “The numbers are still not high but it’s a very contagious variant, doubling itself every two-three days, as we see around the world. It’s possible to say that the fifth wave has begun.”
The recommendation comes after the omicron variant was detected in South Africa last month, at which time Israel promptly limited travel and required that Israelis returning from abroad complete a quarantine. On Nov. 25, the country also banned the entry of foreigners in response to the new variant, according to Reuters.
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