Middle East

Israel bans travel to most of Africa amid new coronavirus variant

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says those who arrive from that part of the world should isolate for 14 days

Enes Canlı   | 27.11.2021
Israel bans travel to most of Africa amid new coronavirus variant

JERUSALEM 

Israel announced Friday that it banned travel to most African nations, excluding the north of the continent, because of the emergence of a new coronavirus variant. 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said following an emergency meeting that the new variant from southern Africa is “extremely concerning.”

Bennett said that those who arrived from that part of the world should isolate for 14 days.

With one case of the new variant found in Israel, and officials fearing that number would rise, Bennett said his Cabinet will meet Saturday to discuss new measures.

The variant known as B.1.1.529 was named Omicron by the World Health Organization which called it "a variant of concern" and said it has a large number of mutations, is more transmissible and possibly more adept at eluding public health measures, including vaccines.

The UK suspended flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe and the EU agreed to introduce rapid restrictions on all travel from those countries as well as Mozambique.​​​​​​​

Turkey imposed a travel ban Friday on five African countries -- Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe -- after the detection of the new variant.

And US President Joe Biden ordered air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries, according to the White House.

In addition to South Africa, US restrictions include Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi, which will take effect Monday.


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