Report: Netanyahu to Demand Suspension of Outbound Flights

A technician collects nasal swab samples for COVID-19 at the coronavirus lab in Ben Gurion Airport. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is looking to suspend most outbound flights from Ben Gurion Airport, Channel 12 reported on Motzoei Shabbos.

According to Channel 12, Netanyahu is looking to cut the number of Israelis returning from abroad for fear of new, highly infections coronavirus strains.

Action will reportedly be taken within the coming 24 hours, with even those who have already received two vaccine shots reportedly set to be unable to leave for tourism.

In the meantime, Channel 13 reported that the Health Ministry is looking to set up digital surveillance over Israelis returning from abroad.

Contrasting reports paint a vague picture of when the travel ban could end, with sources cited as expecting it to remain in place for at least several weeks.

During discussions, it was requested that Israel’s skies be reopened only after five million Israelis have received the vaccine. However, the ministry understands that it will take approximately six weeks to reach that number, and keeping the skies closed harms the economy. Therefore, the ministry has requested to renew electronic tracking of those arriving in Israel.

The new British and South African coronavirus mutations reportedly account for 40% of new infections in Israel and are partly responsible for the high morbidity rate, despite the general containment in force for several weeks.

Travelers returning from Turkey and Dubai have been a concern for health officials as they were seen as possible spreaders.

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