Israel on Thursday denied entry of dozens of passengers traveling from Italy following a Population and Immigration Authority directive barring Italian nationals from entering the country.
Population and Immigration Authority inspectors at the Ramon Airport in southern Israel refused to let 25 passengers, arriving on a Ryanair flight from Bergamo, Italy, to enter the country - 19 of them are Italian citizens and the rest are of various nationalities. Israeli passengers departed the plane and were instructed by the Health Ministry to enter a home quarantine for 14 days.
The plane will return to Bergamo later Thursday with the 25 passengers who were declined entrance and another 119 passengers on board.
Immigration inspectors also denied the entry of 23 passengers who landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on an EasyJet flight from Venice and another 9 passengers on an Alitalia flight from Milan.
Earlier Thursday, Interior Minister Arye Deri announced Israel will ban the entry of Italian nationals to Israel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a day after the Health Ministry instructed Israelis returning from Italy to isolate themselves at home for 14 days, making it the first European nation to be included on a list that already includes S.Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.
"We have no choice. the virus has spread in Italy," Deri told in an interview at the Ynet studio.
The Health Ministry confirmed Thursday that Israel has its first case of coronavirus out of quarantine, in a man who returned from Italy on Sunday.