The US has suspended a work visa issued to an Israeli national who boarded a flight from Newark to Tel Aviv this past week without notifying anyone that he was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.
An Israeli official tells The Times of Israel that US authorities have stripped the man of his visa and that the Health Ministry plans to file a police complaint for him to be charged.
A security official confirms to The Times of Israel that the man is a Mashgiach Kashrut supervisor from the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Beitar Illit.
His family called Israeli authorities while he was en route to notify them that he had tested positive for the disease.
“This is one of the gravest incidents we have seen,” a source in the Health Ministry tells Channel 12.
The man had boarded a United Airlines flight to Israel on Thursday without notifying the crew that he was a confirmed COVID-19 carrier.
He was taken to a separate isolation hotel than the other 38 passengers on the plane. While the Health Ministry has not had enough equipment to test every individual who enters the country — despite an initial declaration from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month that the government would do so — a decision was made to test the passengers on the United Airlines flight due to the “extenuating circumstances,” the security official tells the Times of Israel.
Passengers have been told they’d be tested twice during their stay at the isolation hotel.
The Israeli man had been tested for the virus last week and flew to the US anyways. While there, he was notified that his results had come back positive. He could not get treatment in the US due to a lack of health insurance and decided to return to Israel, according to the Channel 12 report.
He boarded the flight and only notified authorities at Ben Gurion Airport after landing.