First Group of Incoming Passengers Sent Directly to Quarantine

israel coronavirus
A traveler with a mask at the Ben Gurion International Airport. (Avshalom Shoshani/Flash90)

Defense Ministry restrictions on those entering Israel went into effect Monday night – with the first group to be sent en massê to hotels for quarantine 102 passengers arriving on a flight from Belarus. The passengers will remain in quarantine for at least 14 days, and if they show signs of infection, they will be hospitalized.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett expressed satisfaction at the detention of the travelers. “Everyone knows in advance that they are going to have to remain in quarantine for 14 days. When travelers land they will be examined and sent for treatment or quarantine, as required. We will examine the system in the coming days, and we will constantly improve the system,” said Bennett.

The new program was prompted by media footage showing passengers exiting Ben Gurion airport and getting into cars driven by friends or relatives, or into taxis if no one else was there to pick them up. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday night suspended all incoming flights to Israel, and transferred responsibility for handling incoming travelers from the Transportation to the Defense Ministry.

Under the program, all incoming passengers will be examined upon arrival. If they do not show symptoms of coronavirus infection, they will be sent directly to hotels for quarantine, where they will remain for two weeks at government expense. If they do show symptoms, they will either be sent to hospitals or to facilities for individuals with “light” cases of coronavirus, where they can be isolated and monitored.

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