As the COVID-19 Omicron variant continues to spread worldwide, Israel has announced a travel ban on Canada and the United States – an order that will take effect at midnight Wednesday morning (Dec. 22).
According to the Associated Press, Israeli ministers on Monday (Dec. 20) agreed to ban travel to the aforementioned countries, in addition to eight other countries, as part of an effort to limit the spread of the highly-contagious COVID-19 variant.
As such, Canada and the U.S. will join a growing list of European countries and other destinations to which Israelis are barred from travelling, and from which returning travellers must enter quarantine.
A parliamentary committee is expected to give the measure final approval and other countries that are being banned, starting Wednesday, include Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey,
Israel launched a leading vaccination campaign earlier this year, and more than 4.1 million of Israel's 9.3 million people have received a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
In an address on Sunday (Dec. 19), Prime Minister Naftali Bennett encouraged parents to vaccinate their children, declaring that the country's "fifth wave" had begun.
As of Sunday, Israel's Health Ministry reported 175 cases of the new Omicron variant.