UPDATE: After deliberating on whether or not to ban air travel into Israel as fears of a new coronavirus mutation spread, the Israeli government has indeed decided to shut down Ben-Gurion airport with very few exceptions from midnight Monday and not reopen it for at least the next week. This poses a big dilemma for those who need to return from New York, as they now scramble to find a flight that will arrive back home before said deadline.
By: The Yeshiva World
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is pushing for the closure of Ben-Gurion Airport for at least two weeks in order to prevent the entry of additional mutated coronavirus variants into Israel, Channel 12 News reported.
The development follows the announcement by the UK on Friday that there is some evidence that the British virus variant may be more deadly than the original strain. Unfortunately, the facts in Israel seem to be adding to the evidence, with ten pregnant women now critically ill due to the virus (six of whom have been so far proven to be carrying the UK variant) and a surge of cases diagnosed in children, with some falling seriously ill.
Furthermore, Prof. Ran Blitzer, a member of the Health Ministry’s advisory team on COVID-19, told Kan News on Motzei Shabbos that the British variant is behind over 40% of infections in Israel. “Much more efforts need to be implemented at Ben-Gurion and it should have been done a long time ago,” Blitzer said.
The prime minister reached a preliminary agreement with senior government officials on Motzei Shabbos to halt all incoming and outgoing flights for two weeks. The restrictions will apply to everyone, even those who have already been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus – amid fears that Israel’s vaccination campaign could lead to the emergence of an Israeli virus variant that is resistant to vaccines.
A special committee will be formed by the Health and Transportation ministries to review requests for travel for humanitarian or exceptional circumstances.
Israel’s Cabinet is scheduled to vote on the proposal on Sunday night.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)