‘They told us to get on buses but didn’t say where to… there was zero social distancing’

Ellen Steel, a British-Israeli citizen who was one of the 130 passengers on a flight from the UK to Israel sent from Ben Gurion Airport to a coronavirus hotel, says she was ordered to board a crowded bus without being told where she was going.

“At Luton [airport], check-in was normal but then they called boarding 1.5 hours early. At the gate they turned everyone away [all non-Israelis] who had a British passport with permission to enter. They then took Israelis aside and explained that the chances were that by the time we were back we’d have to go to a corona hotel but it wasn’t 100% yet. Quite a lot of people didn’t get on the flight and we had to wait for luggage to come off,” Steel tells the Times of Israel from a bus on the way to Jerusalem’s Dan Panorama Hotel.

“When we landed someone from the Health Ministry came on [the plane] and announced we’d all have to go to hotels — if we wanted to have a fight about it we could but only at the hotel and not before. They took our passports off us as we got off the plane and didn’t explain why. But then they just did passport control without us and gave them back maybe 30 mins later,” she says.

“We got bused to Terminal 1 where there was press waiting. They gave us water and our baggage came. Then they told us to get on buses but didn’t say where to. So people packed onto these buses but there was zero distancing etc. So I refused and am now on one with like 10 people on the way to the Dan Panorama Jerusalem. The buses have police cars escorting them, front, back etc.,” Steel says.

— Raoul Wootliff