Emirates Airline Postpones Inauguration of Direct Tel Aviv Flights

The airline company decides to postpone direct flights between the countries after Israel barred tourists from entering the country over the highly infectious omicron coronavirus variant

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Emirates airline plane.
Emirates airline plane.

Dubai-based airline Emirates on Sunday postponed the inauguration of direct flights to Tel Aviv, initially slated for December 6, following Israel's reintroduction of travel curbs barring the entry of non-residents for two weeks.

Israel's coronavirus cabinet voted on Saturday to reintroduce a slew of restrictions following the detection of the highly infectious omicron variant of the coronavirus in Israel, in a bid to control the virus' spread.

In addition to barring the entry of non-residents for two weeks, the government has tightened quarantine and testing requirements for Israelis regardless of vaccination status, and has also resumed tracking confirmed coronavirus carriers by the Shin Bet security service. 

"The postponement comes as a result of recent changes in entry protocols issued by the Israeli government," the Emirates said in a statement released on Sunday.

"The airline is committed to launching services to Tel Aviv as soon as the situation allows, and will continue to work closely with all relevant authorities in this regard as conditions around entry evolve," it added.

The company added that the health and safety of its customers continues to be its top priority. 

Israel has already confirmed one case of the omicron variant in Israel, and is investigating at least 12 more suspected infections. The Health Ministry's Head of Public Services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said that while vaccinated patients infected with the omicron variant have shown signs of reduced illness, the new variant is highly infectious. 

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