Coronavirus ward, Ichilov Hospital Tel Aviv
Coronavirus ward, Ichilov Hospital Tel Aviv Eitan Elhadez / TPS

An Israeli resident of Los Angeles in the United States who came to visit the country about a month ago was diagnosed with a coronavirus mutation that was first diagnosed in Los Angeles. The Israeli has already returned to the United States but has infected five people here in Israel.

A statement from the Department of Health stated that "In the Ministry of Health's Central Laboratory for Viruses, researchers identified a case of the variant from Los Angeles. At least four more people have been confirmed infected with that variant. The incident is under investigation. The Ministry of Health will continue to update with additional findings as they become available. "

Channel 13 reported that a passenger who returned from Dubai infected 180 others. It is not yet known if he contracted the mutation himself or not, but it is one of the largest recorded spreads of infection since the outbreak of the plague.

Earlier tonight (Sunday), the government approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to close the country's skies to flights. Ben Gurion Airport will be closed from next Tuesday until the end of the closure next Sunday at midnight, except in cases of flights for humanitarian and exceptional needs.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said at the beginning of the meeting, "We are ahead of the whole world. No country has done what we are going to do. We are hermetically sealing the country, and vaccinating at least another million people.”

Later in the meeting, Netanyahu said that Ben Gurion Airport would close tomorrow night. A solution will be given to Israelis and Jews who get stuck abroad.

Absorption Minister Pnina Tamanu Sheta said that "there are immigrants who need to arrive this week and you are sending them to the Exceptions Committee." Netanyahu responded: "Immigration must be stopped. They can wait until the virus is gone.”

The Minister of Construction and Housing, Yaakov Litzman, said at the cabinet meeting that he supports losing the airport in view of the increased spread of infection and the danger of the various mutations. "I remember that the Minister of Health ordered that no flights from China a year ago, which gave us time to put preventative measures into effect.”