Corona flight: 65 infected arrive in Israel from New York

Sixty-five passengers have tested positive for coronavirus, 8 still awaiting results. The group has been quarantined in the Dan Hotel in Jerusalem.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Sixty-five Hasidic followers of the Chabad movement, who flew to Israel on a commercial El Al flight last week from New York, have tested positive for coronavirus.

The 65 people were among a group of 114 Chabad travelers, all of whom were quarantined in the Dan Hotel in Jerusalem upon arrival in Israel. Eight members of the group are still awaiting their test results.

The 65 people who have tested positive will be transferred to Shmuel HaRofe Medical Center in Be’er Yaakov, Israel. The 41 travelers who have not tested positive will remain in the Dan Hotel until their quarantine period ends.

“For eight of the travelers, the test results have not come back yet. When the results are received, a decision will be made accordingly,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. The Ministry of Defense spearheaded the effort to transform the Dan Jerusalem Hotel into a quarantine center, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

Before the flight departed from New York last week, boarding was temporarily halted due to fears that the Chabad group on the flight had been exposed to coronavirus. The flight’s passengers were required to sign a statement declaring that they had not come into contact with a coronavirus carrier within the past two weeks and that they themselves were not experiencing any symptoms of the virus.

The statement also specified that making false statements on the form constituted a criminal offense.

After signing the statement, passengers resumed boarding as usual and the flight departed. The Chabad passengers were met by the Ministry of Health once landing in Israel and immediately quarantined at the Dan Jerusalem Hotel.

The Ministry of Health is currently working to track down the some 200 passengers and cabin crew that were on the flight, who will need to enter quarantine and be tested for the virus.