Quarantine Policy on Arrivals From Abroad Up in Air

YERUSHALAYIM -

After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ ordered mandatory quarantine in specially designated coronavirus facilities for people entering Israel from abroad, there were conflicting reports about what was transpiring at Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

Initially, arriving travelers were said by Channel 12 to be “very angry” at a reception they had not been notified about in advance, that they were being sent into quarantine facilities.

But subsequently, Ynet reported that, in fact, the passengers were being allowed to enter home quarantine after signing a pledge to obey the restrictions.

Netanyahu’s order came after a furor caused by reports on Tuesday that passengers arriving from the U.S., France, Spain and Italy were not being checked or told to go into quarantine, and instead waved through customs. This was occurring even though the Defense Ministry had said that arrivals from pandemic hotspots were being checked and quarantined.

The earlier report said passengers who landed from New York on Wednesday afternoon were being sent to mandatory quarantine at the Prima Hotel in Yerushalayim. An IDF soldier with a megaphone was informing the new arrivals of the requirement.

Passengers on United Airlines flight UA90 from New Jersey to Tel Aviv expressed concern that some of their fellow passengers may be spreading the virus.

One of the passengers told Ynet that a man from Brooklyn boarded the plane despite being ordered to remain in quarantine, while he is waiting for his COVID-19 test results.

Passengers on the United Airlines flight said they were not tested before boarding and were not obligated to hand in any statement regarding their current medical condition.

“One of the passengers said he’s sick, but he doesn’t know if he has coronavirus and he’s waiting for test results,” said one of the passengers on the plane.

The matter had not been confirmed, however.

Meanwhile, confusion reigned in the government, as Defense Minister Naftali Bennett protested that his ministry does not have the capacity to accommodate the number of arriving people who are said to require quarantine.

Bennett said that Netanyahu did not inform him directly about the decision and he heard it on the news.

“We can’t put 4,000 people in hotels in one day, that’s clear,” Bennett said in an online press conference. “In the coming days, we will work on a more precise, smarter, more differential and more efficient plan than just putting up 50,000 Israelis in hotels paid for by the residents of Israel.”