Saturday , April 10 2021

Israel ‘closes skies’ to air travel as COVID variants found

Flights shall be banned for per week, as authorities tries to curb unfold of variants, defend vaccination marketing campaign.

Israel on Sunday introduced a week-long ban on most incoming and outgoing flights in a bid to gradual the unfold of recent variants of the novel coronavirus.

The measure will start at midnight (22:00 GMT) from Monday into Tuesday and stay in impact till the next Sunday, an announcement from the prime minister’s workplace mentioned.

Exceptions shall be made for cargo and firefighting flights, in addition to journeys for medical remedies, funerals and authorized procedures.

A panel of well being and inside ministry officers will be capable of problem exemptions on request “for humanitarian or private wants”, the assertion mentioned.

The choice got here with the nation in its third nationwide coronavirus lockdown, initiated in late December and on Tuesday prolonged till the tip of the month attributable to a surge in deaths from COVID-19.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had introduced his authorities’s intention to shut the airport, after variants of the coronavirus have been detected among the many rising numbers.

“We’re closing the skies hermetically, aside from uncommon exceptions, to stop the entry of virus mutations, and to make sure that we make swift progress with our vaccination marketing campaign,” he mentioned forward of a cupboard assembly.

Swab samples are already taken from arriving passengers on the airport in Tel Aviv. Now Israel has banned incoming and outgoing flights for per week, stepping up efforts to curb the unfold of COVID-19 and its new variants [Jack Guez/AFP]

Later, the well being ministry introduced it had recognized circumstances of a coronavirus variant originating in Los Angeles.

“Within the well being ministry’s central virus laboratory, a variant from Los Angeles has been positioned utilizing a sequencing course of,” the ministry mentioned in an announcement.

“The individual confirmed to have this variant has contaminated 4 different folks.”

Variants from South Africa and Britain have additionally been present in Israel.

Because the rollout of vaccinations final month, greater than 2.5 million of Israel’s nine-million-strong inhabitants have been vaccinated, based on the well being ministry.

On Saturday, Israel started vaccinating teenagers aged 16-18, who want to take a seat last highschool exams.

Adi Cohen, 18, instructed the AFP information company on Sunday she had “no alternative” however to get the shot.

“I’ve my last exams in a couple of weeks, so I really feel I have to take it,” she mentioned from a Jerusalem clinic.

For 17-year-old Shai Ohaion, getting the jab will allow him to be near his dad and mom once more.

“I got here to get vaccinated so as to not social distance at house any extra. I can’t be near my dad and mom, as they’re weak, which makes the state of affairs tough,” he mentioned.

“I got here to help these efforts to place an finish to the coronavirus.”

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