• Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Israel Appoints Special Airport Commissioner Facing Delta Variant Outbreak

Jun 27, 2021

On Sunday, Naftali Bennett, the Israeli Prime Minister said that in terms of the COVID-19 spread, the Ben Gurion Airport was really a ‘huge national vulnerability’. He further announced the appointment of a special commissioner for overseeing Israel’s international gateway. Maj. Gen (Res.) Roni Numa, the new czar had been given the task of managing the COVID outbreak last year in ultra-Orthodox cities. Bennett spoke at the weekly government meeting and said that the delta variant of the disease was highly contagious, but also added that the vaccine had proven effective against it. 

He stated that whoever could get vaccinated but had chosen not to, were not only endangering themselves but others in their surrounding as well. Bennett also added that they wouldn’t be enforcing any new restrictions if the public gets vaccinated and keeps their masks on. The Prime Minister said that their goal was to provide Israeli citizens with maximum protection and minimizing the damage to the economy and the daily routine. He said that they preferred masks instead of restrictions and vaccines rather than lockdowns. The coronavirus cabinet in the country is also slated for a meeting today, as there has been a dramatic increase in the coronavirus cases, which have been attributed to the delta variant spread in recent weeks. 

Last week, on Wednesday, the reconvening of the cabinet had been announced by the government. This is the first time that the cabinet would convene since the establishment of the new government earlier this month. All coronavirus restrictions have been lifted in Israel, which means that the Ben Gurion International Airport is now left as the main line of defense for preventing the entry of the other variants of the virus. However, as has happened in the past year and a half repeatedly, people who have returned from abroad are apparently responsible for the outbreak that has occurred in recent weeks.

All incoming passengers are supposed to get tested for coronavirus at the airport for preventing the entry of the variants. However, hundreds of people had entered the country two weeks ago and they hadn’t been tested. On Sunday, two cities in Israel, Kfar Saba and Tel Aviv, were classified as hotspots for the coronavirus. Under the traffic light system used by the government, they were classified as ‘yellow’. On Sunday, two other regions namely Kochav Yair and Modi’in have also declared coronavirus hotspots. 

A total of 113 new cases of the coronavirus were recorded in Israel on Saturday. On Friday, the government had reinstated the measure of wearing masks indoors, due to the rise in cases. Dr. Nahman Ash, the coronavirus czar said that 0.6% of the coronavirus tests had turned out positive, which indicates an increase in the infection rate. He said that the number of active cases was doubling every couple of days, but the rate was high because of the number of cases was relatively few. However, he did say that he didn’t believe Israel was entering the fourth wave of the coronavirus.  

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