Israel has added the UK and Denmark to its “red” list of countries that Israelis will be prohibited from visiting beginning December 15, according to a top health official.
Belgium was also placed on the list for a short period of time, but the ministry eventually removed it, claiming that the infection rate was not high enough to warrant a travel ban.
Other countries will be added to the “red” list in the coming days, according to Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz.
He indicated that the government does not intend to ban all international travel, but more than 50 nations have been added to Israel’s “red” list since the new variant was discovered.
The announcement came a day after different sectors agreed to update the list of banned countries on a daily basis, making it impossible to arrange flights in advance.
“Whoever is planning to travel abroad at this time needs to know that, upon their return, they are likely to go into full quarantine because the country will be declared a red country.”
Nationals coming from “red” countries must now serve a 10-day quarantine at a government-managed facility.
Only those who test negative for the Omicron variant will be allowed to complete quarantine at home.
He went on to say that Israel is “in a good place” in comparison to other nations thanks to the restrictions it has imposed to prevent the spread of the new variant into its territory.
“We know for sure that Omicron is much more contagious, spreads at a very high rate, and that whoever is vaccinated with a booster is better protected from a serious illness.”
Unvaccinated people “endanger themselves and those around them,” he said, urging that parents of children aged 5 to 11 must get them vaccinated.
In fact, according to new data from an Israeli study, patients who had a Pfizer booster at least five months after finishing their first two-dose series had a 90% reduced death rate than those who didn’t.
In people aged 60 and older, the Pfizer booster reduced rates of severe illness by nearly 18 times, and in people aged 40 to 59, it reduced rates by nearly 22 times.