TOP News

World: COVID around the world: Israel to ban foreigners as other nations tighten restrictions on Britons

Jerusalem: Palestinian-French lawyer fights Israeli deportation

  Jerusalem: Palestinian-French lawyer fights Israeli deportation Salah Hammouri’s residency status in Jerusalem was revoked over a ‘breach of allegiance to the State of Israel’.The move to expel Hammouri comes after Israeli authorities accused him of a “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel” and described him as a “security threat”.

Global concern about the coronavirus pandemic is growing, with a number of countries detecting confirmed cases of the Omicron variant for the first time.

Travel restrictions are being imposed once again as governments suspend flights from southern Africa © Associated Press Travel restrictions are being imposed once again as governments suspend flights from southern Africa

Travel restrictions are also being imposed once again as governments suspend flights from southern Africa, the region where this strain was first detected.

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 developments around the world.

On Saturday, Israel unveiled plans to ban all foreigners from entering the country.

If the proposals are approved, it will become the first nation to completely shut its borders in response to the Omicron variant.

Threat of Israeli strike on Iran nuclear sites grows

  Threat of Israeli strike on Iran nuclear sites grows As Iran's nuclear programme forges ahead, some see Israel running out of options to thwart it.It followed a war-game at a desert airbase just north of the Israeli port city of Eilat last month, which sent fighter planes from Israel and seven other countries roaring into the skies.

There are fears that B.1.1.529 could be more contagious than other variants - and more resistant to vaccines.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban would last for 14 days.

So far, Israel has one confirmed case of the Omicron variant, and seven suspected cases.

Phone-tracking technology is going to be used to locate carriers of the new variant, in an attempt to stop it being transmitted to others.

From Monday, the US is going to restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region.

American citizens and permanent US residents - along with spouses and close friends - will be exempt.

No cases linked to Omicron have been detected in the country so far.

But Dr Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious disease specialist, told NBC that he wouldn't be surprised if the variant is already in the States, adding: "When you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility ... it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over."

South Africa tries to calm fears over new Covid variant 'Omicron'

  South Africa tries to calm fears over new Covid variant 'Omicron' Belgium revealed a case of the variant - named 'Omicron' by the WHO overnight - prompting EU chiefs to call for an 'emergency brake' on all travel from southern Africa after it was found in Israel.South African medics moved to calm a wave of panic over a new ultra-infectious and vaccine resistant Covid strain today as its arrival in Europe sparked fears of a new Christmas shutdown.

Israel is set to become the first country to completely shut its borders. File pic © Reuters Israel is set to become the first country to completely shut its borders. File pic

In separate developments, New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued a COVID-19 "disaster emergency" declaration on Friday, with infections and hospitalisations increasing in the state.

On Saturday, health officials confirmed that a case of the Omicron variant had been detected in Italy.

The business traveller had flown from Mozambique, landing in Rome on 11 November and returning to his home in Naples.

Dr Anthony Fauci 'wouldn't be surprised' if the Omicron variant is already in the US. File pic © Reuters Dr Anthony Fauci 'wouldn't be surprised' if the Omicron variant is already in the US. File pic

Five of his family members, including two children, have also tested positive. All are now isolating and have light symptoms.

The Omicron variant has also been detected in two travellers who arrived on a flight from South Africa on 24 November.

Although genome sequencing is yet to be completed, it is "proven without doubt that this is the variant".

Fears new Covid super-variant Omicron ALREADY is already in Australia

  Fears new Covid super-variant Omicron ALREADY is already in Australia Health Minister Greg Hunt on Saturday announced Australia would be joining Europe and the US in closing its borders to nine southern African countries to stop the new variant from entering the country. There are though 20 returned travellers quarantining in the Northern Territory who were repatriated from South Africa last week - one of whom has tested positive to Covid.Health officials in the Northern Territory are expected to confirm whether or not the infected case has the hyper-virulent new variant later on Saturday evening.

Both cases were detected in the southern state of Bavaria, and another suspected case has been found in the west of the country.

Dutch health officials have detected 61 COVID-19 cases among people who flew from South Africa on Friday.

Although the Netherlands Institute for Health is "almost certain" some of these patients have the Omicron variant, further testing is required to be absolutely sure.

The KLM airline expressed surprise at the high number of cases because all passengers had either tested negative or shown proof of vaccination before boarding flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Authorities in the country are now attempting to contact 5,000 passengers who have travelled from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia or Zimbabwe since Monday.

A business traveller from Italy caught the Omicron variant on a trip to Mozambique. File pic © Reuters A business traveller from Italy caught the Omicron variant on a trip to Mozambique. File pic

Quarantine requirements have been widened to a greater number of travellers in an attempt to stem the spread of the Omicron variant.

Two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in the southern state of Bavaria. File pic © Reuters Two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in the southern state of Bavaria. File pic

Those arriving from the UK, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Egypt and Malawi will now be subject to tighter restrictions.

Israel to close border, airports to non-citizen international travelers for 14 days due to omicron variant

  Israel to close border, airports to non-citizen international travelers for 14 days due to omicron variant Israel has approved a measure closing the Ben Gurion airport to non-citizen arrivals for two weeks due to fear of the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant. The Times of Israel reported Saturday that the Israeli cabinet has approved a ban on international arrivals of non-citizens for two weeks and imposed mandatory quarantine for Israeli citizens who are arriving. OMICRON COVID-19 VARIANT CASES IDENTIFIED IN UK: LIVE UPDATES "#BREAKING: No foreigners will be allowed to enter Israel in the next 2 weeks following #Omnicron variant," Israeli journalist Amichai Stein tweeted Saturday.

Dutch officials are 'almost certain' that the Omicron variant is in the country © Reuters Dutch officials are 'almost certain' that the Omicron variant is in the country

The Federal Office of Public Health said passengers from these countries will need to present a negative COVID-19 test and quarantine for 10 days too.

Direct flights have already been banned from South Africa and the surrounding region.

Switzerland has banned direct flights from South Africa and the surrounding region © Reuters Switzerland has banned direct flights from South Africa and the surrounding region

Despite cases being detected in Italy and Germany, both neighbours of Switzerland, travel restrictions have not been imposed on any countries it shares borders with.

From next month, British tourists will only be able to enter Spain if they can show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Spain is clamping down on unvaccinated Britons entering the country © Reuters Spain is clamping down on unvaccinated Britons entering the country

Until now, unvaccinated travellers were allowed into the country if they could present a negative PCR test that was take 72 hours before their arrival.

"The appearance of new variants causing (coronavirus) obliges an increase in restrictions," the government said.

Spain's Industry, Trade and Tourism department said approximately 300,000 British people who are resident in Spain will not be affected by the new measures.

Omicron 'variant of concern' has arrived in North America .
Omicron 'variant of concern' has arrived in North America2 cases of Omicron variant detected in Canada, government says

See also