Israel may bar travel to United States


(JTA) — Israel’s Health Ministry recommended barring Israelis from traveling to the United States due to the coronavirus outbreak of the Omicron variant there. The government is set to vote on the recommendation Sunday evening and, if the recommendation is accepted, the travel restrictions would go into effect Wednesday.

The decision to bar travel to the United States comes as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread to dozens of countries and is projected to quickly become the dominant variant in several countries, including the United States. The decision also followed the arrival of a flight from the United States in which nearly 10% of the passengers tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Haaretz. Most of the cases on the plane were suspected to be from the Omicron variant.

In addition to adding the United States to the list of “red” countries to which Israelis are barred from traveling, the Health Ministry also recommended banning travel to Canada, Portugal, Turkey, Germany, Hungary, Morocco and Belgium.

As Israel considers canceling its citizens’ foreign travel plans, over a dozen staff members of the Israeli Consulate in New York tested positive, according to The Times of Israel. That number includes Asaf Zamir, Israel’s Consul General in New York, who had recently attended the Israeli-American Council’s annual conference in Florida.

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Nearly 150 members of Israel’s Knesset entered quarantine over the weekend after coming into contact with those who tested positive for the coronavirus, according to The Times of Israel.

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