By Hezki Baruch, Israel National News—
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pushed Monday morning for a total ban on the entry of foreign nationals to Israel, citing recent outbreaks abroad of a fast-spreading strain of the coronavirus.
Speaking at the opening of a meeting of the Coronavirus Cabinet, Netanyahu said the government was keeping a close watch on developments abroad.
“This mutation is spreading across the world, and we’re looking into its significance.”
Netanyahu proposed reimposing the total ban on air travel into Israel, which was put into place earlier this year, following the first outbreak of the coronavirus.
If adopted, the travel ban would leave nearly all foreign nationals unable to enter Israel. Returning Israeli passport holders would still be permitted to enter the country.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said that Israelis returning from abroad would be required to go into isolation and undergo testing, regardless of what country they had been staying in.
He added that there are no signs at present that the new mutation is resistant to the vaccines now being administered in Israel.
“There is no evidence that this mutation is resistant to the vaccine.”
But, Edelstein added, the infection rate in Israel has continued to rise, and hinted at new restrictions on public activity.
“The fact is that the infection rate is on the rise. In the Coronavirus Cabinet we will see what we as a government need to do in order to ensure that this strain doesn’t get to Israel.”