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Bennett defends ‘drastic steps’ against Omicron in call with Austrian, Czech leaders

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke Tuesday with his Austrian and Czech counterparts about the COVID-19 pandemic, defending the use of phone tracking and other measures that Israel has recently imposed to counter the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the leaders swapped insights from their nations’ respective experiences battling the virus and on “the challenges of managing a country” amid a pandemic.

Bennett’s video call with Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babic came as the two Central European countries face surging infections, and as Israel takes steps to prevent the potential spread of Omicron.

“As we are still uncertain about the variant and as the [morbidity] numbers are still very low, we completely closed our borders to foreigners at this stage,” the premier said.

He also defended the government’s approval of phone tracking by the Shin Bet security service to locate suspected Omicron cases, reviving a controversial tool used earlier in the pandemic.

“Because it’s very early and there is still a lot of uncertainty we are using drastic........

© The Times of Israel

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