Palestine has expressed deep concerns over the spread of the new Covid-19 variant, known as B.1.1.529 or Omicron, after Israel announced it had detected its first such case.
The Palestinian Health Ministry will recommend that the government authorities tighten procedures at crossing points and borders as a precautionary measure, Kamal al-Shakhra, a spokesman of the ministry, said in a press statement on Saturday.
Al-Shakhra said, "The danger of the new variant lies in the rapid spread" and that the ministry of health and its workers "are ready to take the necessary measures to confront the new variant."
He also said that in cooperation with concerned authorities, the health ministry has identified the areas in the West Bank popular with foreign tourists, especially the cities of Bethlehem and Jericho, as Christmas approaches, Xinhua news agency reported.
"Medical teams will conduct tests in all the places they frequent to limit the spread of the virus," al-Shakhra added.
On Friday, Israeli media reported that the Israeli health ministry recorded the country's first case of Omicron. The variant was discovered in a genomic sequencing test of an Israeli who returned from Malawi, the ministry said.