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Coronavirus

Israel Restricts Travel Due to New Virus Strain

December 21, 2020

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the country has further tightened restrictions on incoming air travel in response to the new strain of the coronavirus.

Netanyahu said Monday that Israel will not allow foreign nationals to enter the country, and any Israelis who return from abroad, starting Wednesday, will go into quarantine at state-designated hotels. Currently, returning Israelis are allowed to quarantine at home. The restrictions will remain in effect for 10 days.

Israel has already barred most foreign visitors since the start of the pandemic, but made exceptions for certain groups like religious seminary students. Israeli officials say almost all loopholes will now be closed.

On Sunday, Netanyahu also said Israel was banning incoming flights from the U.K., Denmark and South Africa — saying those are the countries where the new mutation of the coronavirus had been detected. He said the ban could be extended to other countries if the strain spreads.

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