Omicron, What Now?

Just when life was finally back to normal, along comes a new Corona variant, Omicron, and it’s all anyone can talk about

Omicron has arrived in Israel
Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

When I started writing this greeting to start the new week it was focused on Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights that begins this evening (Sunday) with the lighting of the first of eight candles. It’s always a joyous time in Israel with a special atmosphere. I wanted to write about the sufganiot, those special filled Hanukkah donuts that can now be found everywhere. The scent of fresh, warm sufganiot together with the smell of the Hanukkah candle wax create this beautiful holiday atmosphere, even though you don’t get a day off on these very beautiful holidays. Only the schoolchildren, they get a Hanukkah vacation.

Sufganiot

I just wanted to share a bit of this festive atmosphere. But then Omicron came along.

What can I say? We seemed to have reached a point where very few were worrying about Corona any longer in Israel, and then suddenly a new variant shows up. As soon as the variant got its name, the Corona Cabinet met to decide on new (or rather, renewed) restrictions. From midnight onwards, Israel will be closed to tourists again for at least two weeks!

It came like a slap in the face. We celebrated the return of tourists last week here on Israel Today. And now we seem to be taking a step backwards. It is fear of the unknown that has driven our government to take these precautionary measures. In a week or so we will know more about what we are dealing with. After a certain time you are always a little wiser, but now we just don’t know enough, hence what many see as exaggerated steps. Let’s hope that in two weeks everything will look better than feared.

At Ben Gurion Airport it will be a little emptier for now. Tourists are not allowed to enter Israel, Israelis arriving from abroad will have to be in quarantine until receiving a negative test result. And those who come from Africa are even taken to a quarantine hotel.

As I’ve noted in previous articles, our son is getting married next week. It was originally planned that my sister, who lives with her two children in England, would be here for this joyful event. But we already suspected some time ago that it would not be easy due to Corona. So we decided to postpone our family reunion until next summer in the hope that everything will be a little easier then. I haven’t seen my sister in person for four years. Now we all hope that Omicron won’t ruin our wedding.

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