Israel’s Coronavirus Cabinet on Sunday unanimously approved new travel restrictions, barring non-Israelis entry into the country from Britain, Denmark and South Africa, and forcing returning nationals to isolate in quarantine hotels.

According to Israeli media reports, the new regulations stem from a spike in Israel’s morbidity rates and what is being reported as a particularly contagious mutation of the COVID-19 virus that was discovered in the United Kingdom.

“We need to close off the whole world immediately,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during the Cabinet meeting.

“It’s an extreme step,” he added, but one that, if successful, will curb the rate of COVID-19 infection.

Netanyahu made the comment shortly after issuing a positive update on his status since becoming the first Israeli to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday night and urging everyone in the country to follow suit.

He warned, however, that it was not yet time for people to let their guard down, as being lax with regard to social distancing and mask-wearing has led to a rise in infection and number of deaths.


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