Israel will close to visitors for 2 weeks in response to Omicron
Israel is closing to non-citizen international travelers for two weeks and reinstating its quarantine rules. The move comes as the country tries to contain the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.
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The ban takes effect on Sunday night and applies to visitors from any country. This makes Israel the first country to completely shut its borders in response to the new variant. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made the decision on Nov. 26 during a meeting of the coronavirus cabinet.
In addition to the closure of Ben Gurion airport to foreigners for two weeks, Israelis who arrive from abroad will have to go through mandatory quarantine for three days, according to the Times of Israel. Those coming from countries in the "red" category (which includes most of Africa) must quarantine in designated hotels pending a negative virus test.
Related: Omicron is now in UK and possibly Germany
In a statement, the Prime Minister added that the Shin Bet domestic security agency’s phone-tracking technology will help to locate carriers of the new variant.
According to Israel's Health Ministry, there are seven suspected cases and one confirmed case of infection with the Omicron variant in Israel as of Nov. 27.
Israel has joined several countries that have banned visitors from much of Africa in the past few days. Omicron was first identified in South Africa on Nov. 24, and is identified as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization.
Related: Visitors to the UK must take PCR test after arrival: Omicron cases confirmed
This is a developing story that will be updated.