Israel added the U.K., Denmark, and Belgium to its COVID-19 travel ban list amid concerns of the spread of the omicron variant, Reuters reported.
The head of Israel’s health ministry, Sharon Alroy-Preis, said in a news conference that Israelis would not be able to travel to the three European countries starting on Wednesday, according to the news service.
Alroy-Preis also reportedly said the three countries were placed on its travel ban list due to the “significant spread of the omicron variant.”
Israel’s government has already barred foreigners from entering the country in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and imposed quarantines ranging from three to seven days for returning travelers, Reuters noted.
Health officials have confirmed 55 omicron cases in Israel, which has been trying to ramp up its vaccination program and has imposed strict mask-wearing guidelines.
Israel has added 50 countries to its travel ban list since the discovery of a new variant, according to the news service.
Health officials in South Africa, where omicron was first detected, confirmed the discovery of the new variant, called B.1.1529, last month, saying at a media briefing the strain is “very different” from past mutations from the virus.
Several countries, including the U.S., have since implemented bans on travel from southern African countries.