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Israel bars travel from most of Africa in effort against ‘worrying’ new COVID strain

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday ordered that most of Africa be labeled “red,” heavily restricting entry from the region, following the emergence of a new, highly mutated coronavirus variant in South Africa that has already made its way to Israel.

The list of countries from which foreigners are barred entry to Israel was not yet published, but Bennett said it would include Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar, and exclude North African countries.

The list had been empty for some six weeks, as no country had fallen into the Health Ministry’s “red” criteria. But on Thursday evening, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini were added to the list.

Returning Israelis, including those who are fully vaccinated, from any of the countries now considered “red” will be required to isolate at a state-run quarantine hotel for a week and will be released after receiving two negative PCR virus tests, Bennett said in a live press conference. Returnees who refuse to be tested will be required to isolate for two weeks at a state-run quarantine hotel, the statement added.

The Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command was ordered to locate all those who arrived from the relevant African countries over the past week, and to instruct them to immediately self-isolate. Forces will also........

© The Times of Israel

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