Terminal 1
Terminal 1Moshe Shai/FLASH90

Due to the long lines, congestion, and concern of infection, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli (Labor) on Wednesday announced her decision to separate those returning from high-risk countries from those returning from lower-risk countries, Israel Hayom reported.

Under the new guidelines, travelers returning from countries listed as "red" or "black" for coronavirus will be transferred to Terminal 1, instead of arriving in Terminal 3 like most other passengers.

In an announcement, the Transportation Ministry said: "The decision of the Minister was made after meetings with the professionals at Ben Gurion Airport and in coordination with the Prime Minister, Health Minister, and Finance Minister. As part of the plan, it was decided to send flights from red countries to Terminal 1, thereby creating a separation between the arrivals for the purpose of reducing the chance of infection."

Israel Hayom noted that currently, the only direct flights from "black" countries are from Russia and India, but many travelers arrive in Israel from the other four blacklisted countries, via connection flights from places such as Turkey and Germany.

Senior officials at Ben Gurion International Airport said in closed conversations that the plan is expected to cost tens of millions of shekels, and has caused several in the system to raise eyebrows.