Switzerland banned Israelis from entering its territory after the first case of the Omicron COVID variant was discovered in the Jewish state.
Those with Swiss or EU passports will be allowed entry but will be required to quarantine for ten days.
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) named the new B1.1.529 COVID variant discovered in South Africa the “Omicron” and designated it as a “variant of concern” due to it being highly infectious.
“Due to the new B1.1.529 virus mutation, Switzerland immediately took measures to prevent or at least slow down the spread of the new variant as far as possible,” a statement from the Swiss Embassy in Tel Aviv said, adding that the restrictions apply to “all persons entering the country from the South Africa region, Hong Kong, Israel, and Belgium.”
Cases of the Omicron variant were also identified over the weekend in the UK, Germany and Italy.
Israel’s Health Ministry said on Motzei Shabbos that there are seven people in Israel, four of whom recently returned from abroad, who are suspected of carrying the Omicron variant in addition to the one confirmed case announced on Friday.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)