Israeli hospital worker leaves quarantine, hops on plane to Ukraine

Hospital worker with coronavirus who fled home quarantine faces up to three years in prison.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

An employee of a large hospital in the center of the country who had contracted the coronavirus and was recovering at home, broke the mandatory quarantine and flew to Ukraine, Channel 12 reported Monday.

The man belongs to the Maccabi Health Fund and a Maccabi employee called his home in Bat Yam to ask how he was as part of their ongoing follow-up of tens of thousands of patients who are in home hospitalization.

However, when his wife answered the phone she gave an unexpected update on his condition: he was flying to Ukraine. The man reportedly was showing symptoms of the coronavirus, but did not tell anyone, apparently other than his wife, of his intention to leave the country.

Given that the man knew he was infected and that Israeli health regulations required him to stay in home isolation until testing negative for the coronavirus, the case is viewed as serious. He first flew to Turkey before boarding a connecting flight to Ukraine.

Because he was already confirmed to be infected before flying means that in addition to a fine of NIS 5,000 ($1,460), he may be prosecuted for knowingly spreading a disease and faces an additional penalty of up to three years in prison.

The incident is being investigated by Israeli and Ukrainian authorities including Israel’s embassy in Ukraine, as well as by Turkish Airlines.

In a separate incident last month, a resident of northern Israel was reported to have flown for a vacation in Turkey even though he was supposed to be in isolation due to coming into contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient. However, only after landing in Turkey did it become clear that he too had contracted the virus.