Health officials were reportedly told on Saturday that two-thirds of Israel’s return to countries with high coronovirus infection rates were breaking quarantine.
The meeting between Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Coronavirus Caesar Nachman Ash, ministry officials and scientists also heard that 1-2 percent of people from abroad – from all places – were later found to carry coronoviruses, Channel 12 News told.
The report stated that there was a possibility of a positive test for Israel returning from Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria.
Get the daily edition of the Times of Israel by email and never miss our top stories by signing up for free
Testing is not mandatory for travelers to Israel from any location, but arrivals from countries with high infection can now use the test to slightly shorten their quarantine period.
The report stated that it was clear from the discussions that there was a need to test on all returners from abroad, no matter where they were.
Under current regulations, only those entering Israel from a country considered “red” with a high transmission rate are required to fill out a health declaration form.
Travelers returning to Israel from one of those countries are required to enter quarantine for 14 days, a period that can be shortened to 12 days if the person has two negative virus tests, one initially and The period toward the end of a self-isolation.
The report said that the authorities discussed the possibility of forcing all returners from abroad to enter isolation, regardless of where they came from, or to ensure those returning from abroad using digital means To track that they remain in quarantine, a step that would require ministerial approval and legal approval.
Another option that was reportedly believed to be to give passengers a test before boarding a plane at Ben Gurion Airport, immediately enter quarantine upon arrival and then a second test four days later. If clear, the passenger will be exempt from self-isolation under the plan. The United Kingdom has been operating a similar scheme since mid-December.
Edelstein reportedly said at the meeting that stringent measures would be needed to stop the virus spreading more in Israel as a result of international travel.
“There is no escaping the Drakeian measures to deal with the incident. What we are seeing here is imported epidemic in the country. It must be stopped immediately, Edelstein reportedly said.
The meeting came with news of an outbreak of the virus at a hotel in the Dead Sea after 10 Isrotel hotel employees were confirmed to have coronovirus.
Hotels in Elite and Dead Sea were allowed to reopen earlier this month, as they were designated as “special tourist islands” after the law was passed, before tourists could enter those areas There was no need to present negative coronavirus results for more than 72 hours.
The Health Ministry said on Sunday morning that 572 new coronovirus cases had been confirmed the previous day. New daily case numbers are typically lower on Sundays as test levels fall over the weekend.
However, of the 17,163 tests conducted on Saturday, 3.3 percent came out positive. As recently as Wednesday, the positivity rate was 1.8%. This number has recently risen during the weekend and then gone down.
After remaining below that milestone for more than a month, the low number of cases came after three straight days that new daily infections rose above 1,000.
The number of infections since the epidemic began was 335,132, of which 9,951 were active cases.
The death toll was 2,854.
According to the ministry, there were 273 people in critical condition, with 100 people on ventilator. Another 90 people were in moderate condition and the rest had mild or no symptoms.
Top health officials have warned of increasing morbidity, with the government even retroactively pushing lockdown restrictions.