Gurugram (Haryana) [India], November 28 (ANI): As Tel Aviv sealed its border for international tourists, Israel ambassador to India Naor Gilon on Sunday said that the country took the step as a precautionary measure, as it is not known how dangerous the new COVID variant "Omicron" will be.
"We were among the first countries to detect this variant. After a lady came from Africa carrying the new kind of COVID, we decided to seal the borders because I think that there is a lack of information over how dangerous this mutation is. So for a couple of weeks will be needed for the gravity of the situation," Gilon told ANI.
However, the envoy clarified that Indians in Israel will be unaffected, and can travel to India and back without much trouble.
Talking about the Indians stranded in Isreal, the envoy explained that those Indians who have been working or studying in Israel can go back to New Delhi and later return to Tel Aviv easily.
"There is no problem for Indians to leave Israel as long as Air India is flying because these are the only flights now. As long as there are flights people can go out. Israel will accept entries for only those people with permanent residency, so Indians who have been working living, studying in Israel already can go back," he added.
Israel imposed a ban on the entry of foreigners for two weeks in order to prevent the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus strain, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett informed.
The decision to close the borders for 14 days was made at a Corona cabinet meeting on Saturday night, according to the prime minister's office.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron' and alarmed the siren among countries of the new variant.
WHO's COVID-19 technical lead, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, said the information about the now 'Omicron' variant is still limited. (ANI)