Israel to Ban All Passenger Flights to Curb the Spread of COVID-19

The government of Israel announced on Jan. 24 that all passenger flights will be banned starting from the evening of Jan. 25 until Jan. 31 in an effort to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

The government of Israel announced on Jan. 24 that all passenger flights will be banned starting from the evening of Jan. 25 until Jan. 31 in an effort to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

In a joint statement released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office, the Health Ministry, and the Transportation Ministry, the cabinet approved a week-long ban of flights to and from Israel, except for cargo flights, firefighting flights, and flights for medical emergencies, judicial proceedings, and funerals.

The statement also said that the director generals of the health ministry and the transportation ministry are “entitled to approve exceptional requests for departure abroad on humanitarian grounds or special personal need.”

“Other than rare exceptions, we are closing the sky hermetically to prevent the entry of the virus variants and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign,” Netanyahu said ahead of the cabinet meeting.

“We are thereby ensuring that the damage from the mutation, if it enters, and from additional variants, if they enter, will be much smaller. And of course, we will be able to open our economy,” Netanyahu also said.

The statement also said that permits for operating Israeli airlines will be temporarily restricted.

The ban comes as Israel is in its third national lockdown, which was imposed last Dec. 27 and has been extended until the end of Jan. due to a rise in deaths related to COVID-19.

Israeli borders have mainly been closed to foreigners during the pandemic prior to the ban and only Israeli passport holders were allowed to enter.

The ban also comes as protesters from ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities clashed with the police in the city of Brei Brak and in other towns due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.


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