‘Flights will stop’: Shaked warns of rise in COVID cases

“If the cases increase, flights will stop,” said Ayelet Shaked.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said Wednesday that the government will shut down international air travel if the number of positive COVID-19 tests continues to rise, Walla! reported.

“If there is a significant outbreak, closing the airport is the solution,” Shaked told reporters after touring Terminal 1 at Ben Gurion Airport.

She said that the situation at the airport is the country’s main concern.

“The simple solution is to close the airport. But the situation today is different from what it was, and we are trying to keep the airport open,” said Shaked.

“It is possible that in the future, if the cases increase, flights will stop,” she added.

Shaked advised Israelis not to travel to countries which have been designated as “red” unless they absolutely have to, and then only if they obtain permission from the exceptions committee.

The countries which have been designated as “red” due to a risk of coronavirus are Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa.

Travel to a “red” country without an exemption permit constitutes a criminal offense and carries a fine of 5,000 shekels.

Shaked also announced that the enforcement of quarantine orders for those returning from abroad will increase, and additional law enforcement officers are being added for that purpose.

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She urged citizens to watch their neighbors for possible violations. “If you see neighbors returning from abroad and not keeping isolation, wake them up,” she said.

Shaked told reporters that she wanted to impose a prohibition to leave the country on citizens who had violated quarantine, but the attorney general and justice minister did not approve of it.

Ynet reported Sunday that Shaked planned to propose the one-year travel ban on anyone who returned from abroad and violated quarantine or traveled to a “red” country without obtaining approval from the exceptions committee.

“It’s a very simple enforcement tool,” said Shaked.

“The name of a person caught violating isolation will be reported immediately to the Population Authority and he will join a list that will ban him from leaving the country for a year,” she said.