Due to growing fears over new variants of the coronavirus considered to be more infectious, the Israeli government has approved regulations to shut down the sky until at least the end of the lockdown (end of January). Only in a few very exceptional cases will people be allowed to travel.
The Israeli Ministry of Health forwarded the final decision: “Only people who have to go abroad for medical follow-up, to do essential work that cannot be carried out remotely, a moving, or attending a funeral with their families, will be allowed to travel”.
The following general restrictions will therefore come into force from Monday evening:
- Ban on entry and exit of foreign and Israeli passenger flights.
- Reduction of authorisations for arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, so that it will only be possible in exceptional cases which will be approved by a committee headed by the directors of the ministries of health and transport.
According to i24 News: “We will be closing Ben Gurion Airport. We are sealing the skies – with very rare exceptions – to prevent the entry of variants of the virus into the territory, and also to ensure that we move quickly with our vaccination campaign,” said the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I would like to stress that during this week, when the sky will be closed, we will be vaccinating an additional million Israelis, thus ensuring that the damage linked to the mutation and that linked to the other variants will be much smaller“, he added.
The new British and South African variants represent 40% of new infections and are partly responsible for the high morbidity rate, despite the general lockdown in force for several weeks. According to a statement from the Israeli Ministry of Health, international cargo flights will be maintained because they are not affected by the new measures.