Travel to US Reportedly Paused

Travel to US Reportedly Paused

( – As the Omicron variant of the coronavirus sweeps across the world, countries are taking measures to try and mitigate the spread. On December 19, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced his citizens would have to obtain special permission to fly to the US. Effective on December 21, the United States joins the country’s list of nine other destinations on its no-fly list.

Israel already re-instituted a 3 to 14-day quarantine at the end of November when it first discovered incidents of the new COVID-19 variant. In addition, the country allegedly plans to mandate a fourth vaccine shot for the residents who live there, according to a tweet by artificial intelligence researcher Eli David.

A Look at Omicron

According to a December 21 report by CBS News, CDC data shows Omicron as the dominant strain of coronavirus across the US. Unfortunately, the numbers also show that the new stealthy strain may make it easier for the virus to get around the vaccine. However, Moderna reported that boosters help by increasing antibody levels.

Although early data showed Omicron as a milder version of the coronavirus, scientists are still analyzing the variant’s fallout as it creeps across the United States and the world. Some are considering it as the fourth wave of the virus. So, Israel is taking a proactive approach to banning the 10 countries it feels could likely lead to the spread of infection. Those countries include the US, Germany, Turkey, Canada, Morocco, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, and Switzerland.

Currently, Israel only has 134 cases of the Omicron variant confirmed in the country, with 307 more suspected. That said, Bennett is expecting to see a surge over the next few weeks as he tries to control it as much as possible.

Travel Restrictions Around the World

Not only do Israelis require special permission to fly to places like the US on the list, they must also go into a 14-day quarantine after arriving home. That rule stands regardless of the person’s vaccination status, and all travelers must submit to a PCR test before their flight and after they land in Israel.

In fact, in order to travel internationally, everyone must have a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours before boarding a flight. As the coronavirus fight wears on and the virus mutates, it’s likely more countries will implement restrictions to minimize the spread.

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