Israel bans travel to US, citing omicron


Israel announced on Monday that the United States has been added to the country's "no-fly" list due to fears over the spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant, Reuters reports.

Starting on Tuesday, Israelis will need special permission to fly to the United States. 

More than 50 nations are now included on Israel's "red" list for travel. If Israeli citizens or residents are already in a "red" country, they must quarantine when they return home.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that Israel had bought some time because the country moved quickly to limit travel when omicron was first detected, Reuters notes. 

"The time we bought is running out," Bennett said while speaking at a press event. 

"The numbers are still not high but it's a very contagious variant, doubling itself every two-three days, as we see around the world," he added. "It's possible to say that the fifth wave has begun."

Bennett also has encouraged Israelis to get vaccinated and to take pandemic-related precautions as COVID-19 cases increase throughout the nation. 

Israel has reported 134 omicron variant cases and there are another 307 suspected cases, according to the Health Ministry, according to Reuters. Of the cases, 167 were symptomatic cases.

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