Israel on Thursday decided to extend restrictions put at Ben-Gurion International Airport due to the Omicron coronavirus variant for an additional ten days.
Under the provisions, vaccinated Israelis — who under the existing rules had to take a coronavirus test upon landing and remain in isolation until receiving a negative result — will now be required to enter quarantine for 72 hours and take another COVID test on the third day after they arrive.
Unvaccinated travelers must remain in quarantine for at least a week, and can leave isolation upon receiving a negative test result conducted on the seventh day.
Israelis coming from high-risk "red" countries will have to quarantine in designated state-run hotels until they receive a negative virus test result.
All the measures will be brought for approval to Knesset's Health Committee
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz also agreed to meet again in the coming days on possible additional restrictions and incentives to get vaccinated.
During a separate meeting earlier on Thursday, Bennett floated the option of introducing a lockdown for Israelis not vaccinated against COVID-19, sparking a heated exchange with Horowitz.
Health Ministry officials sharply criticized the proposal, which also Horowitz opposed. He and others in attendance called the proposals "unreasonable" and said that a lockdown for the unvaccinated amounted to "forced vaccinations."
Those present at the meeting were highly doubtful whether the proposals could pass constitutional muster in a democracy, with one official being quoted as saying that Bennett "has lost it."
The premier said in response that the borders may need to be tightened to delay the onset of another wave of COVID-19 morbidity.
"We know the price, but through decisive and immediate measures, we can prevent a lockdown," he said.
After the meeting, the Prime Minister's Office said that the attendants at the meeting agreed to ramp up enforcement of the Green Pass — which allows who were Israelis vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered from the disease access to public accommodations — with an emphasis on issuing immediate fines and without warning in case of an infraction.