Israel airport to remain open despite nationwide lockdown

Updated: Sep 15,2020 05:12 GMT

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IANS

Tel Aviv, Sep 15 (IANS) Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport will remain open during the upcoming three-week complete nationwide lockdown that will begin on Friday, the Ministry of Health said.

Except for its closure every year on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Ben Gurion Airport has never shut down, not even during wars, reports Xinhua news agency.

The decision was taken on Monday following a discussion attended by Ministers of Health, Foreign Affairs, Interior and Transport.

According to the decision, only flights that have already been approved can operate under the new restrictions and guidelines, such as undergoing a coronavirus test before the flight.

Accordingly, passengers will be permitted to get to the airport despite the lockdown restriction that prohibits moving more than 500 meters away from home.

Passengers will have to issue a flight ticket at least four hours before departure, and this will be their permit to stay away from home.

Passengers returning from one of the 30 countries with low morbidity will not need to enter a 14-day quarantine, and will only be obligated to the lockdown's restrictions.

Israelis are currently allowed to visit Greece, Bulgaria and Croatia without quarantine obligation, and could do so in the lockdown period as well.

The new lockdown will include a 500-metre distance limit from home, and the closure of restaurants, hotels, culture and entertainment places, and shops, except for essential places such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

Many workplaces will also be closed or will operate partially with work from home.

The closure will be the first in a three-stage coronavirus mitigation plan.

The second and third stages, which will include easing restrictions, will take effect only after the pandemic situation is improved.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Israel has increased to 160,368, while the death toll stood at 1,136.

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