Ben Gurion International Airport during the coronavirus pandemic
Ben Gurion International Airport during the coronavirus pandemicOlivier Fitoussi/Flash90

During an emergency Sunday night meeting of the government, it was decided that a negative coronavirus test would be required for entry into Israel, and the requirement to quarantine in a hotel would be expanded, Ynet reported. In addition, exit from Israel will be limited.

The decision comes as Israel attempts to prevent various new mutations of COVID-19 from entering its borders.

Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, both of Likud, have accused Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit of refusing to allow conditioning entry to Israel on the presentation of a negative coronavirus test.

Mandelblit, for his part, rejected the accusation out of hand, claiming that the issue came up only last week, that there is a legal way to permit such a step, and that this was told to the relevant parties.

The decisions reached during the discussion will be drafted into bills and brought before the government or Cabinet for approval. They include:

  • requiring proof of a negative coronavirus test performed up to 72 hours prior to the flight;
  • lsraelis desiring to leave Israel will be allowed to do so only for essential purposes, such as diplomacy, humanitarian cases, business, and special cases approved by the Exceptions Committee;
  • the requirement to quarantine in an isolation hotel upon arrival in Israel will be expanded to include countries from which there is concern of infection with mutations of COVID-19.

At the same time, those returning from the United Arab Emirates and Brazil are now being sent to quarantine at isolation hotels.

The Ministry of Health is expected to recommend to the government to close Ben Gurion Airport due to fears of the spread of COVID-19 mutations.

Currently, it is believed that 20% of those diagnosed with coronavirus were infected by the British mutation. At the same time, 20 cases of the new South African mutation have been confirmed.

Israel's borders have been closed to tourists and other non-Israelis for nearly a year, with only a few exceptions.