Israel bans entry from 7 African countries due to new COVID variant

Foreigners from these countries will not be able to enter Israel.

Jerusalem: Israel has announced a ban on entry of travellers from seven African countries, after a new Covid-19 variant was detected in South Africa.

Amid reports of the heavily mutated variant known as B.1.1529, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horwitz on Thursday decided to list South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini as “red countries,” Xinhua news agency reported.

“Foreigners from these countries will not be able to enter Israel,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement.

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Israeli citizens who return home from trips to these countries will need to stay in a designated quarantine motel for seven days, even if they are fully vaccinated, it said.

They will be released after two negative PCR tests. Travellers who refuse to be tested will need to stay in quarantine for 12 days, according to the statement. Scientists in South Africa said they have detected the new COVID-19 variant and are still studying its implications.

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