Fines to be imposed on travelers to high-risk countries

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announces increased enforcement at Ben Gurion Airport against people traveling to countries defined as red.

Ben Ariel ,

Arrivals at Ben Gurion Airport
Arrivals at Ben Gurion Airport
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

The Ministry of Health announced on Monday that an extensive enforcement operation will be launched in the coming days and that heavy fines of thousands of shekels will be imposed on those who fly to countries defined as red due to COVID-19.

Currently, flights are banned to six countries defined as high risk due to COVID-19 outbreaks: Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Russia. Despite this, Israelis continue to travel en masse to these countries and return from them, bringing the virus with them.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced on Monday that he has decided to take action. "It turned out that the ban on flying to these countries, which was imposed by the previous government, did not include effective enforcement mechanisms. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, we made important decisions last night: Within a few days, we will impose strict enforcement at the airport on those who fly to banned countries, while imposing very high fines on those who ignore the instructions and endanger the health of Israeli citizens."

"Friends, the public space is open, the masks have been removed, but we must remember that the situation in Israel is different from the situation in the rest of the world. We must maintain the routine of good life which was achieved with great effort - and do it together. Do everything necessary so that, God forbid, variants are not spread in Israel that could lead to another wave of illness. We, the government, will take strict measures to monitor Ben Gurion Airport, manage cases of outbreaks, and maintain public health," Horowitz said.

At the same time, Israel is considering adding other countries with high morbidity rates to the list of countries from which Israelis are banned from flying: the United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Uruguay, Seychelles, Ethiopia, Bolivia, the Maldives, Namibia, Nepal, Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Tunisia.