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MidEast states issue new travel restrictions as Omicron variant spreads

Israel has announced a two-week ban on foreign nationals entering the country and Morocco has banned all incoming flights.
A staff member assists arriving passengers at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, east of Tel Aviv, on Nov. 28, 2021.

The emergence of a new variant of COVID-19 prompted a fresh round of travel restrictions and border closures in the Middle East as scientists race to learn whether Omicron is more transmissible than other strains. 

On Friday Israel identified its first case of the variant that was discovered in South Africa and has now been detected in more than a dozen countries. Israel, which reopened to vaccinated tourists a month ago, has now announced a 14-day ban on foreign nationals entering the country. The Shin Bet internal security service will use cellular location data to trace the contacts of those who are diagnosed with the Omicron variant. 

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