Israel to shut borders completely over Omicron COVID-19 variant

Israel said Saturday that it would ban the entry of all foreigners into the country, making it the first to shut its borders completely in response to a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus variant, and said it would use counter-terrorism phone-tracking technology in order to contain the Omicron variant.

The Shin Bet counter-terrorism agency’s phone-tracking technology will be used to locate carriers of the new variant in order to curb its transmission to others.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that the ban, pending government approval, would last 14 days.

Israelis entering the country, including those who are vaccinated, will be required to quarantine.

Israel has so far confirmed one case of Omicron, with seven suspected cases. Ministry has not said whether the confirmed case was someone who was vaccinated, but three of the seven suspected cases were fully vaccinated.

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