“We’re closing the skies hermetically, except for rare exceptions, to prevent the entry of virus mutations, and to ensure that we make swift progress with our vaccination campaign,” he said ahead of a cabinet meeting.
Later Sunday, the health ministry announced it had identified cases of a coronavirus variant originating in Los Angeles. “In the health ministry’s central virus laboratory, a variant from Los Angeles has been located using a sequencing process,” the ministry said in a statement. “The person confirmed to have this variant has infected four other people.”
Variants from South Africa and Britain have also been found in Israel. Since the rollout of vaccinations last month, more than 2.5 million of Israel’s nine-million-strong population have been vaccinated, according to the health ministry. On Saturday, Israel began vaccinating teens aged 16-18, who need to sit final high school exams.