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Netanyahu said demanding immediate closure of airport over virus mutation fears

Passengers wearing full protective suits and masks to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic push their luggage trolleys at the departures area at Ben Gurion Airport on January 19, 2021. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Passengers wearing full protective suits and masks to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic push their luggage trolleys at the departures area at Ben Gurion Airport on January 19, 2021. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding the immediate closure of Ben Gurion Airport due to concerns about coronavirus variants entering the country, according to Hebrew media reports.

Netanyahu is holding talks on the matter this evening with officials from the Health Ministry, Transportation Ministry and National Security Council.

Channel 13 says the Health Ministry backs the demand.

According to Channel 12 news, Netanyahu wants to halt all flights — even for those already vaccinated. Health Ministry officials were already recommending suspending all flights to Dubai.

Unnamed sources quoted by the network say the closure would remain in effect for several weeks and won’t be lifted when the current lockdown measures are eased, which they’re set to be on January 31.

More cautious officials in Health Ministry say the airport should reopen when at least 5 million Israelis are vaccinated, theChannel 12  report says.

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