Spain is reportedly slated to be added to a list of countries Israelis are barred from visiting due to COVID-19 concerns.
Citing internal Health Ministry deliberations, Channel 12 reported Thursday that Spain was likely to be added to the no-fly list next Wednesday.
Any Israelis — including those vaccinated or recovered from the coronavirus — would have to quarantine for seven days upon returning from the Iberian nation if the ban indeed takes effect.
Spain would join Uzbekistan, Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Russia on the list of countries Israelis to which Israelis are barred from traveling. Those who enter the country after visiting any of those nations can now face a NIS 5,000 ($1,500) fine and are also required to quarantine for a week until they receive a negative test result.
The more infectious delta variant has pushed cases back up in Spain and other European countries where vaccination efforts. Public activity has once again been curtailed in Barcelona and the surrounding Catalonia region to stem an outbreak that is running wild among unvaccinated younger people and placing hospitals under growing pressure.
Catalonia is currently one of the hardest hit areas of Europe; only the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus is worse off, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Channel 12 report said Cyprus could be added to a separate list of countries that Israelis must quarantine upon returning from, but are not barred from traveling from them. Unvaccinated individuals must follow the same rules for all countries.
The Health Ministry was also said to be eyeing unspecified restrictions on travelers from Turkey.
Health officials have linked a recent spike in infections to travelers who brought back the Delta variant of the virus from abroad and did not properly quarantine after arriving. The resurgence of the coronavirus in Israel has been largely attributed to the spread of the variant, which was first detected in India and is believed to be twice as contagious as the original COVID strain.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.