Liberman says tourism workers should find new jobs despite ongoing travel restrictions

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While the government has agreed to update a list of banned countries due to high levels of coronavirus infections, a move that could reduce overseas flights, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said those who work in the tourism industry should start looking for new jobs.

“When it comes to travel agents and tour guides, you have to say: start changing professions,” Liberman said at a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“We, as experts in the tourism industry, know that there is a strong demand ahead [for services]”Yoav Rotem, a tour guide, told Channel 12.

“Whoever closes my workplace and handicaps me, I am not unemployed, I am handicapped. It’s him and his government, ”Rotem said, lambasting Liberman.

Amid the rise of the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the end of last month, the government took sweeping measures to close its borders to foreigners for two weeks. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered the extension of the directive for another 10 days on Thursday evening.

Explaining the decision on Sunday, Bennett said: “We want to delay [Omicron’s] entry into the country through the restrictions at Ben-Gurion airport, and at the same time take advantage of these precious days to increase everyone’s immunity. We are not protected enough at the moment.

“Two weeks ago we decided to tighten the restrictions on entry into the country, and there were those who said we were going too far, but now we see that we are not going too far at all,” he said as he opened the weekly. cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “The Omicron [variant] is indeed disturbing. Europe is entering the holiday season with severe restrictions and blockages in some countries. “

Travelers at Ben-Gurion airport, November 29, 2021 (Flash90)

Meanwhile, the list of banned countries has been updated to include the United Kingdom and Denmark, the Department of Health announced on Sunday evening.

Health Ministry Nitzan Horowitz said more countries would be classified as “red” in the coming days, but stressed that the government is currently not planning to ban international travel altogether.

He also urged the Israelis to refrain from all non-essential travel abroad.

“Anyone who is planning to travel abroad at this time should know that upon his return he will likely be placed in full quarantine as the country will be declared a red country,” Nachman Ash, director general of the ministry, said during a press conference. Report.

Under new quarantine rules approved by a Knesset committee on Sunday, Israelis from “red” countries must self-isolate at a state-run facility for at least 10 days. However, they can be released home to complete their quarantine if they are negative for Omicron.

According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health, 223 coronavirus infections were confirmed on Saturday, with 0.63% of return tests positive. The number of severe cases recently climbed back above 100, days after falling below that threshold for the first time in four months.

The death toll remained at 8,210, with no deaths since last Monday.

A total of 6,400,940 Israelis received a first vaccine against the coronavirus, 5,789,014 of whom also received a second vaccine and 4,120,329 of them received a third.

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