Some government officials are calling to close down quarantine hotels for those returning from abroad and to find an alternative solution, Channel 12 has reported, citing difficult conditions and several suicide attempts by occupants.
For several weeks, the government has been forcing all arrivals from abroad to enter the hotels, converted into quarantine facilities, for a two-week period, during which they are tested to ensure they are not carrying coronavirus before being released into the country.
International flights have slowed down to a trickle amid the pandemic and foreign citizens are not allowed to enter the country, but a small number of flights are continuing between Israel and several locations mostly in Europe and the US.
According to the report, the National Security Council held two meetings on the issue of the hotels Friday with representatives of the military’s Home Front Command and the finance and welfare ministries, in which problems were raised with the current system.
The TV report said hotel occupants have complained of being forced to stay in their rooms at all times, leading them to feel as though they are under arrest and many to report severe psychological difficulties as a result.
Indeed, it said there had been several suicide attempts at the hotels — though it provided no further details or figures.
Another issue raised was the high cost of maintaining the facilities, estimated at some NIS 200 million ($57 million) a month.
The report said some government officials are now calling to find alternatives to the facilities and to shutter them. But the NSC is opposed to such action at this time.
Before the quarantine hotels became mandatory, many arrivals were allowed to go home upon landing to quarantine there, sometimes via taxis.
Many cases of infection have been found among arrivals from abroad.