Israel to close borders over Omicron coronavirus variant fears

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Israel took drastic action against the new Omicron coronavirus variant Saturday aiming to close its borders to foreign travelers.

The ban, if it receives final government approval, is to begin at midnight Sunday and last 14 days.

The move came after cabinet members met for almost three hours Saturday night, the Jerusalem Post reported.

One case of the Omicron variant, which first emerged in South Africa, has been identified in Israel with seven more suspected.

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Israelis returning home from countries designated as red zones in Africa will be sent directly to a hotel to quarantine until they receive a negative COVID-19 test.

The country also plans to use counter terrorism phone tracking technology to follow those who have the variant in order to stop transmission, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.

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