On Sunday, Israel’s health ministry suggested that Israelis refrain from travelling to the United States, and it put many European nations on its Covid “red list” in an effort to limit the spread of the Omicron variant.
Barring Israeli citizens and residents from travelling to the United States would be a huge move for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government, considering the hundreds of thousands of dual nationalities and tight relations between the two nations.
Bennett stated that Israel was in the midst of its fifth Covid-19 wave.
“The Omicron version is already here,” he said following a cabinet meeting, “and it is spreading quickly.”
Bennett had stated that he would continue to limit travel in order to avoid more lockdowns.
He said that by halting travel immediately after the Omicron variant was discovered in South Africa last month, Israel won “valuable time.”
“European nations are either under lockdown or on the verge of going into lockdown,” he warned, emphasizing that “time is running out” for Israel.
On Sunday, lawmakers accepted an earlier suggestion from the health ministry to prohibit Israeli citizens and residents from travelling to Norway, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, France, Finland, and the United Arab Emirates.
Denmark & Britain were already on the red list, as was the majority of Africa.
In addition to the United States, the health ministry suggested that Canada, Turkey, Morocco, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, and Belgium be red-listed, with permission still pending from the government and parliament.
When a nation is marked red, Israeli citizens and residents who are currently overseas must quarantine for a week before returning home.
Unless they have a specific authorization, non-resident foreigners from all nations are forbidden from entering.
Bennett pushed Israelis to work from home and parents to vaccinate their children.
“Our objective is to ride this wave as little as possible while influencing the economy and education,” he added.
“The approach to do it is to slow down the infection rate while vaccinating Israeli youngsters as soon as feasible.”
According to Ran Balicer, chairman of Israel’s national expert group on Covid-19, most life within Israel may proceed as usual.
“The more stringent you are in prohibiting imports and delaying local transmission, the more lax you can be in disrupting the economy and daily life,” he explained.
Balicer predicted that Israel would relax its restrictions after local transmission of Omicron increased, lowering the number of cases coming in from abroad.
He stated that it was unclear if the strain presented a danger of serious sickness or death.
More than 4.1 million of Israel’s estimated 9.3 million individuals have received three doses of a coronavirus vaccine, and the government is actively immunizing youngsters aged 5-11.