Over one hundred Israelis returning home from the Ukraine after the Rosh Hashanah holiday entered the country while carrying the novel coronavirus, after having obtained falsified negative COVID tests, authorities said Friday morning.
Israeli police on Thursday found that 50 travelers who had returned from Uman after Rosh Hashanah had tested positive for COVID before departing from the Ukraine, but had then used fake tests showing they were not carrying the virus in order to board their flights.
Upon their arrival in Israel, the 50 COVID-positive travelers were separated from other returnees at the airport and sent home in ambulances.
On Friday, police released an update on the number of coronavirus carriers who entered the country with falsified tests, saying that a total of 117 COVID-positive travelers have now been identified thus far.
Israel’s border control authority, a branch of the Interior Ministry, released a statement on the dozens of COVID-positive returnees.
“These are travelers who left Uman bound for Israel, who were tested there and found to be carriers. Based on the information transferred to the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration, dozens of them boarded flights with fake tests.”
Sixteen Israelis were arrested at the airport for entering the country with fake COVID tests, with charges expected to be brought against additional suspects.
Magen David Adom said Thursday that 10% of travelers returning from Uman have tested positive for COVIDm with hundreds of travelers suspected of having used fake negative COVID tests to return home.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered police to launch a full investigation into the use of falsified tests to return to Israel, and to charge those involved with fraud, forgery, and intentional spread of illness.