Israel plans to close Tel Aviv airport as COVID-19 cases rise weeks after dropping social distancing rules
Israel could close Tel Aviv airport to all non-essential travelers if COVID-19 cases continue to rise just weeks after the government abandoned a face mask warrant and all social distancing rules. The Delta variant is blamed for the increase in the number of new cases, with health officials saying 10% of infections are among returning travelers.
The closure of Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport is the most drastic of all the options the government has considered, according to sources cited by local media, but the idea has not been categorically rejected and is still relevant today. whether hospital admissions and coronavirus-related deaths are working. much further.
The new Israeli government under the leadership of Prime Minister Neftali Bennett has already reintroduced the quarantine on arrival for all travelers, although in most cases passengers are only required to self-isolate for 24 hours while awaiting results of negative test.
But as of Friday, travelers from 15 countries with what are considered high infection rates must self-quarantine for a full seven days after arriving. The countries are: United Arab Emirates, Seychelles, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Tunisia.
And from next Friday, the list of high-risk countries will be expanded to include: UK, Cyprus, Turkey, Georgia, Uganda, Myanmar, Fiji, Panama, Cambodia, Kenya and Liberia.
Bennett describes the recently reimposed COVID-19 restrictions, such as wearing face masks indoors, as “soft suppression” tactics, but he has taken a decidedly tougher stance on international travel and warned Israelis not to not even bother to book flights for the foreseeable future.
The Israelis do not seem to heed the advice of the prime minister or health officials. On Sunday alone, some 22,000 passengers took off from Ben-Gurion airport, according to The time of Israel. Passenger numbers are expected to hit a new high next month.
But the number of countries on a list of destinations considered to have very high infection rates and where Israelis are banned from traveling could be increased. So far, the list includes Brazil, India and South Africa, along with five other countries, but Spain and Kyrgyzstan will also be added to the list next Friday.
Last week, Bennett suggested the whole world could be classified as very high risk if he prevents Israelis from going on vacation.
International travel has been banned for long periods of time as part of the Netanyahu administration’s response to the coronavirus, but a near-total ban on flights could be the least of concerns for many Israelis. If cases continue to rise despite Israel’s impressive vaccination rate, Bennett has not ruled out ordering another lockdown.
Photo credit: Gil Cohen Magen / Shutterstock.com
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