Airport Test Labs to Facilitate Re-Opening

israel flights coronavirus
A worker disinfects an Israir plane at Ben Gurion Airport, in May. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90/File)

Israeli officials were meeting on Thursday to plan an on-site coronavirus testing program at Ben Gurion Airport, which will facilitate a re-opening when the airlines are cleared to fly again, hopefully in August.

“The only way to open the skies for Israel is to establish coronavirus testing labs at the airport,” a spokesperson for the Airports Authority told The Jerusalem Post.

Representatives of the Airports Authority, the National Security Council and the Health and Transportation ministries are collaborating on hiring a private company to build the labs even before the re-opening, so that the airport will be ready to handle the passenger traffic on short notice.

A Beit Shemesh bulletin quoted the president of one of the companies likely to bid for the tender, who explained the process: 72 hours before their flight, passengers will get screened for coronavirus at a drive-thru testing station, and get the results by mobile phone. If the results are negative, the passenger will be cleared to go to the airport, where a second test will be performed. The results would be received by travelers upon arrival at their destination, so they can present two negative tests to officials there.

Foreigners wishing to enter Israel would be screened on arrival at Ben Gurion, then enter isolation for 24 hours until their results come in. If the results are negative, they can continue on with their vacation. If the test is positive, the visitor would have to remain in quarantine.

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