- Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

Israel Bans Travel to US Amid Omicron Strain Concerns

© REUTERS / DADO RUVICVials labelled "VACCINE Coronavirus COVID-19" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed flag of Israel in this illustration taken December 11, 2021.
Vials labelled VACCINE Coronavirus COVID-19 and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed flag of Israel in this illustration taken December 11, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
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The country previously red-listed the UAE as well as several European nations, including France, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Finland, and Sweden, in an attempt to curb the pandemic.
Israel imposed new bans on Monday, restricting travel to the US, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland, and Turkey.
The measure is supposed to come into effect at midnight between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Israeli citizens are not allowed to travel to red-listed countries without special permission from a so-called "Exception Committee". They will also be mandated to undergo a 7-day quarantine after they return, even if they are fully vaccinated.
© REUTERS / EDUARDO MUNOZA man is tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a mobile COVID-19 testing unit, as pedestrians make their way in the sidewalk during the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 8, 2021.
A man is tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a mobile COVID-19 testing unit, as pedestrians make their way in the sidewalk during the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 8, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
A man is tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a mobile COVID-19 testing unit, as pedestrians make their way in the sidewalk during the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 8, 2021.
The new restrictions come after Israel closed its borders to foreigners last month and ceased travel to African countries in a bid to prevent the spread of the Omicron strain, which originated in South Africa. The new variant raised major concerns across the globe due to its high transmissibility rate because it has a high number of mutations (32).
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