The coronavirus cabinet on Monday ruled that all Israelis returning from abroad will be required to go into isolation of at least 10 days in state-operated hotels, due to concerns over a new, more infectious mutation of the coronavirus.
Foreign nationals will not be admitted into the country at all for two weeks, except in special circumstances.
Ministers decided that the measure will go into effect Wednesday at 2pm and be in place for 10 days.
Israelis will enter quarantine at state-run hotels for up to 14 days, but could be released after 10 days if they present a negative test on the first and tenth days of isolation.
If the hotels run out of room, the Health Ministry will then draw up a list of people who could be authorized to go into quarantine at home.
All returnees within the next 48 hours will go into quarantine at home, where they will be tested for coronavirus.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been pushing for all flights in and out of Israel to be halted altogether.
On Sunday, ministers decided to require all Israelis returning from the UK, Denmark and South Africa to quarantine in government-operated coronavirus hotels.
Sunday's decision was made as two flights from London were en route to Israel, carrying a total of 120 Israeli passengers. Dozens of the passengers decided to return to the UK rather than go into isolation, despite having been informed before boarding that the new policy could be in effect when they landed.
The Health Ministry on Monday morning reported that 2,821 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Sunday, after 70,000 tests conducted, indicating a 4.1% positivity rate.
Of 24,999 patients currently battling the disease, 456 are in serious condition, with 117 connected to ventilators. Eight people have succumbed to the virus in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll since the start of the pandemic to 3,101.
Coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash, who backed the closure of the airport, also told the ministers on Sunday that he recommends a partial lockdown that includes suspension of all commerce.
Ash said the rise in the number of seriously ill patients surpassed the amount recorded in November.
He warned that with no mitigation measures taken, Israel would see up to 1,900 seriously ill patients within three months and the death toll rise by up to 1,250 in the same period.