Travel to eight countries including Canada and the United States will be banned by Israel amid the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Israeli ministers agreed on Monday.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office announced the decision following a Cabinet vote.
In a rare move, the U.S. will join a growing list of European countries and other destinations to which Israelis are barred from traveling, and from which returning travelers must remain in quarantine.
The travel ban will take effect on Wednesday morning after a parliamentary committee gives the decision a final approval.
Cases of covid have been surging in Israel more infectious coronavirus variant in recent weeks and began closing its borders and restricting travel in late November. Foreign nationals are not allowed to enter, and all Israelis arriving from overseas are required to quarantine — including people who are vaccinated.
Other countries that were approved to be added to the travel ban starting Wednesday are Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland, and Turkey.
In a world-leading vaccination campaign, more than 4.1 million of Israel’s 9.3 million people have received a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a broadcast, urged parents to vaccinate their children, declaring that the country’s “fifth wave” of coronavirus infections had begun. As of Sunday, 175 cases of the new variant have been reported, according to health authorities.
Israel has recorded at least 8,232 deaths from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.