A group of Israeli tourists who were asked to isolate in a state-mandated coronavirus hotel after returning from Dubai rioted and turned tables at the facility, refusing to quarantine.
The government on Sunday decided that anyone returning from the United Arab Emirates are mandated to enter quarantine at a dedicated facility for two weeks over fears that those arriving from the Gulf state might have contracted the extremely contagious South African variant of COVID-19.
According to the tourists, when they arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday, no representative from the Health Ministry was present examine their pleas to self-isolate at home rather than at the especially designated hotel.
The group originally refused to evacuate from the airport, but eventually agreed after being persuaded that an official from the ministry will be present at the coronavirus hotel in Jerusalem, where they were being taken.
Upon arriving at the facility and seeing that no one from the Health Ministry was there to talk to them, they began rioting, turning tables, cursing and yelling at the helpless IDF Home Front Command soldiers operating the facility.
"They were promised to meet with a representative of the Health Ministry, but no one was at the airport," a Ben Gurion Airport official said.
"The state said there will be a special exemption committee on behalf of the ministry at the airport, but there was no one. Everybody just shrugs their duties off and shifts responsibility on the Home Front Command."
The official said that when the group had refused to leave the airport, they were threatened with fines. "When security saw that it wasn't working, they told them a ministry official will meet them at the coronavirus hotel," he said.
"When this also did not happen, you get a riot. What a shame," he said.