Ben Gurion International airport
Ben Gurion International airportAvshalom Sassoni/FLASH90

Israel's Transportation Ministry on Monday morning turned to its Health Ministry regarding the Indian coronavirus variant, which was recently identified among travelers returning to Israel from abroad.

In the request, the Health Ministry was asked to examine, if necessary, how much of a change in the protocol for passengers would be required in order to manage the new variant, and which additional actions would need to be taken to help prevent the variant from spreading within Israel.

The Health Ministry is expected to reach a medical decision on the issue in the coming days, and the decision will be implemented by the Transportation Ministry, Civil Aviation Authority, and Airports Authority.

At the same time, the Transportation Ministry is working to implement Transportation Minister Miri Regev's (Likud) plan, which was approved in a government meeting, to set up a coronavirus testing center outside the terminal, to increase the airport's permitted capacity and allow the terminal to return to normal operations while keeping to Health Ministry demands and guidelines regarding everything travelers are required to do prior to entering and exiting Israel.

In his letter to Health Ministry Director General Professor Hezi Levy, Transportation Ministry Director General Ofer Malka estimated that until the testing station is set up, just 15,000 passengers will be able to pass through Ben Gurion Airport each day, due to social distancing rules and the Green Passport limitations.