Returning Israelis Who Don’t Get Tested Face Heavy Fine

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel covid travel
A traveler walks toward the COVID-19 testing area at Ben Gurion International Airport, Sunday. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

Israeli authorities are trying to compel compliance with the emergency regulations aimed at containing the Omicron variant with a low-tech oldie: a heavy fine on people who don’t cooperate.

A 3,500 shekel ($1,100) fine is on the horizon for any international arrival who fails to take a COVID-19 test on the third day of their stay in the country, according to Channel 12 news.

Channel 13 said that only 500 of the 1,800 Israelis who have returned from African countries since they were declared “red” have taken a genetic sequencing test designed to determine the virus’s strain.

To make matters worse, the tests themselves have so far proved unreliable. Out of around 14 tests that detected signs of Omicron, 7 or 8 were found to be defective. Repeat tests have been ordered days later, but by then it may be too late to identify the strain, the report says.

Meanwhile, the Knesset voted to extend by two months the COVID-19 emergency law which gives the government extended powers to respond to the pandemic. The law was set to expire at the end of November, but will now carry on until January 31.