search

As 2nd Omicron case found, Israel bars airport arrivals from taking buses, trains

International arrivals will only be able to exit Ben Gurion Airport by private vehicle or taxi; latest case of new COVID-19 strain arrived from South Africa

Illustrative: View of an empty bus terminal at the Ben Gurion airport on December 17, 2017. (Flash90/File)
Illustrative: View of an empty bus terminal at the Ben Gurion airport on December 17, 2017. (Flash90/File)

The Ministry of Transportation announced Sunday evening that travelers arriving from abroad will not be allowed to use public transportation serving the airport, as a second case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was detected in Israel.

The new transportation rules will apply from midnight Sunday, when all those arriving from overseas are to be required to quarantine for at least three days.

As of Sunday at 6 p.m., those arriving from “red” countries with high infection rates need to quarantine in state-run hotels, while others are allowed to return home to isolate themselves.

Exiting the airport will only be possible by a private vehicle, by being collected by relatives, or by a taxi, the ministry said.

“The idea is that those in quarantine won’t be able to take public transportation from the airport,” Health Ministry Director General Nachman Ash told Army Radio. “Everyone will need to take a car or a taxi by themselves or with family.”

Those traveling to the airport for a departing flight will still be able to do so by bus, train or shared taxi.

Travelers seen arriving at the Ben Gurion Airport, on November 28, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The ministry said that in order to encourage Israelis heading abroad to arrive at the airport in a private vehicle, long-term parking tickets are to be slashed by 50 percent.

Those traveling domestically, from Eilat to Ben Gurion Airport, will be taken on a shuttle to Tel Aviv’s Savidor train station, the Transportation Ministry said.

Meanwhile, a second person in Israel was confirmed to be carrying the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Health Ministry said.

The woman entered Israel from South Africa recently, the ministry said.

An Israeli citizen, aged 32, she had been vaccinated three times, Channel 13 news reported. She had been on vacation with her husband and child, both of whom have tested negative for COVID, the TV report said.

Several others who are suspected to be carrying the mutated strain are still awaiting final confirmation.

Travelers seen arriving at the Ben Gurion Airport, on November 28, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Scientists in South Africa revealed Thursday that they had detected the new COVID-19 variant with “a very high number of mutations,” blamed for an “exponential” surge in infections there.

The number of daily infections in Africa’s hardest-hit country has increased tenfold since the start of the month.

In Israel, the Health Ministry said Sunday that the coronavirus’s basic reproduction number in Israel had decreased slightly to 1.05. Known also as the “R-number,” the figure represents the number of people each confirmed patient infects, on average. Any number over 1 signifies infection is expanding.

Data published Sunday evening showed that 170 people had been diagnosed on Saturday, with the number representing 0.51% of the over 35,000 tests conducted. There were 11 hospitalized individuals, of whom 125 were in serious condition.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed