The new variant virus Omicron has attracted global attention. Israel announced on Saturday (28th) that it will ban all foreigners from entering the country from midnight on Monday for a period of 14 days. It is the first country to close customs in response to Omicron. In addition, Israel will use the technology of the anti-terrorist agency to track Omicron infected persons by phone.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issued a statement announcing the new customs clearance arrangements. In addition to restricting the entry of foreigners, incoming Israelis also need to be quarantined. Those who have been vaccinated must be quarantined for at least 3 days, while Israelis who have not been vaccinated must be quarantined for 7 days. Bennett pointed out that he hopes to understand the effectiveness of the vaccine against Omicron during this period.
In addition, Israel will also use the telephone tracking technology of the counter-terrorism agency to locate Omicron infected persons in order to cut off the chain of transmission. According to Reuters, the monitoring technology has been used intermittently since March 2020, matching the location of patients and other nearby mobile phones to determine who they have been in contact with. A civil rights organization later challenged privacy issues, and Israel’s Supreme Court restricted its use this year.
Israel issued a ban on Friday, restricting the entry of people from most African countries. There is currently one confirmed case of Omicron in the local area, and the Ministry of Health has not disclosed whether the patient has been vaccinated. Of the remaining 7 suspected Omicron cases, 3 have been vaccinated; 3 people have no recent travel history.
The World Health Organization last Friday (26th) changed the name of the variant virus strain “B.1.1.529” from southern Africa to “Omicron” and included it in the most serious category of “Variant of Concern”. Omicron has a higher risk of reinfection than other variant viruses. Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy all later found Omicron cases, and many countries imposed entry restrictions on southern African countries.
Related report: Reuters/Al Jazeera