נתב"ג
People arriving from abroad at the Ben Gurion International Airport earlier this year
Photo: Ido Erez
People arriving from abroad at the Ben Gurion International Airport earlier this year

Israel to force into quarantine travelers returning from virus-hit countries

NSC, IDF and various government officials set to table the proposal for the cabinet, claiming many of those arriving from red countries do not comply with self-isolation rules and may be the cause of growing infection in their communities

Yoav Zitun |
Published: 12.02.20 , 09:30
Israel's security bodies and government officials are set to recommend to the coronavirus cabinet to force travelers returning from virus-hit countries into quarantine.
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  • Representatives from National Security Council, IDF's Home Front Command and the government held a meeting Tuesday evening where it was discussed that travelers arriving from countries with high COVID-19 infection rate are one of the major causes of pathogen outbreaks in Israel.
    נתב"גנתב"ג
    People arriving from abroad at the Ben Gurion International Airport earlier this year
    (Photo: Ido Erez)
    During the meeting, officials concluded that they will request an emergency regulation that will require travelers entering from red countries to submit to a coronavirus test upon arrival or be sent to a coronavirus hotel for a period of quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus in their communities.
    People returning from such countries thus far, have been asked to self-quarantine but according to data presented in the meeting, many do not comply. According to the officials, only 25% of those arriving from "red" countries enter the mandatory, two-week isolation.
    The Home Front Command has begun preparing hotels to accommodate those unable to prove they have not contracted the disease.
    פתיחת שמיים חלקית בנתב"גפתיחת שמיים חלקית בנתב"ג
    Travelers at Ben Gurion Airport
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi )
    The move, that will raise legal questions, could see objections from the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities.
    Israeli Arabs returning from Turkey have been blamed for some of the spike in cases in Arab cities and villages.
    Nearly all municipalities currently under lockdown because of high contagion rate appear to be in the Arab sector.
    הלוויתו של השייח הדרוזי חסן חלבי שמת מקורונההלוויתו של השייח הדרוזי חסן חלבי שמת מקורונה
    The funeral of a Druze religious leader who died from COVID-19 in Majdal Shams in October
    (Photo: Fadi Amun)
    According to the latest data presented at the meeting, since the partial reopening of international travel 27,000 people returned from five red countries. Only 9,800 of them had been tested upon arrival and found to be virus free.
    There are currently 82,000 Israelis in quarantine, with nearly half of them having come into contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient.
    On Wednesday, the Health Ministry said 1,182 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed on the previous day as the daily case count continues to rise. There are 266 people in serious condition being treated in hospital with 94 of them on ventilators.
    מחלקת טיפול נמרץ קורונה בבית החולים איכילובמחלקת טיפול נמרץ קורונה בבית החולים איכילוב
    The coronavirus ward at the Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: TPS)
    Since the start of the pandemic, 2,877 people have died due to complications of COVID-19.
    Health Ministry's Head of Public Health Services Sharon Alroy-Preis said on Tuesday that she is concerned by the rising number of new COVID-19 cases.
    "This is the beginning of the third wave, we still do not know the full effects of the concessions that we've allowed," she said, referring to the easing of lockdown curbs. "We are expected to see an increase in the coefficient of infection and in the number of new verified cases."

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