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Israel bans entry from 7 African countries, including South Africa, due to new Covid-19 variant

Amid reports of the heavily mutated variant known as B.1.1529, Israel decided to list South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and eSwatini as ’red countries’. File picture: Pixabay

Amid reports of the heavily mutated variant known as B.1.1529, Israel decided to list South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and eSwatini as ’red countries’. File picture: Pixabay

Published Nov 26, 2021

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Israel announced on Thursday a ban on entry of travellers from seven African countries after a new Covid-19 variant was detected in South Africa, the prime minister's office said.

"Foreigners from these countries will not be able to enter Israel," it said.

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Israeli citizens who return home from trips to these countries will need to stay in a designated quarantine motel for seven days, even if they are fully vaccinated, it said.

They will be released after two negative PCR tests. Travellers who refuse to be tested will need to stay in quarantine for 12 days, according to the statement.

Scientists in South Africa said they have detected the new Covid-19 variant and are still studying its implications.

Meanwhile, British Airways have announced flight cancellations from midday on Friday, November 26. In a tweet, the airline posted: "We are aware of news from the government about a ban on UK flights to South Africa. We will be contacting affected customers and colleagues in #SouthAfrica and will update our website with the latest information," it said.

Responding to a comment on the post, Head of Global PR & Social Media at British Airways Victoria Madden, said the airline will land every flight that they can before the deadline.

"Hi, we will land every flight we can. Flights are not scheduled to turn round. The deadline is 12pm on 26th November," she said.

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