Friday, January 21, 2022

Israel bans all tourists for two weeks

Israel has tightened restrictions after at least two cases of the Omicron version of the coronavirus were discovered in travelers returning to the country.

The new variant was discovered in two Israelis who had returned from Africa. Israel has now closed its borders to visiting tourists for the next two weeks, less than a month after it reopened.

As part of the new restrictions, anyone traveling to Israel from nations labeled as red countries – which includes most of Africa – will be sent to government-sponsored hotels run by the Israeli military. All other returning Israelis will have to submit to a PCR test upon arrival in Israel, as has been the norm until now, and spend three days in quarantine. They will be released only after the second negative test.

Senior health official Dr. Sharon al-Ro’i Preiss says this variant appears to be highly contagious.

She said it is possible that vaccination against the variant will be less effective, which is cause for concern. Also, she said that early research suggests that the variant affects older people and that symptoms are mild.

Some are accusing the Israeli government of overreacting to the new version.

Mark Feldman of Deisenhaus Tours said the move to ban tourists for two weeks would further devastate the Israeli tourism industry, which has yet to recover from the first part of the pandemic. Israel was closed to tourists for the past 20 months, and each time it was to reopen, the closure was extended.

The Omicron variant comes as COVID-19 numbers had dropped dramatically, and many had hoped the pandemic was over.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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