The Health Ministry confirmed Sunday evening that a second case of the Omicron coronavirus variant had been detected in Israel.
The person who was infected was identified as a woman who recently returned from South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first discovered.
Earlier today, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said that Israel was prepared for a scenario in which a new variant would reach its borders.
“We assumed a new variant would show up. Thanks to our defensive and enforcement measures, we located this variant quickly,” Horowitz said at a press conference. “We were among the first to find and isolate it. The matter is under control. There’s no need for fear or panic.”
Addressing the Shabak's tracking of carriers of the Omicron variant, Horowitz said: “I’ve got a big problem with the use of tracking. I prefer that the Shabakdeal with security matters and not civilian ones. The implementation of the Shabak tracking is very limited, temporary and has plenty of oversight.”
Tonight (Sunday), Prime Minister Naftali Bennett approved the outline formulated by the Ministry of Transportation to stop public transportation from Ben Gurion Airport following fears of the spread of the new strain.
Starting at midnight tonight, it will be possible to use trains and buses just to get to Ben Gurion Airport - but it will not be possible to return using them. The alternatives that will be available to passengers will be service taxis with a density of up to 50% of the original occupancy, "special" taxis, collection by relatives or use of a private vehicle.