Israel plans to halt international flights due to rise in COVID-19 morbidity: media

The first flight of the Xi'an-Istanbul direct air route arrives at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Dec. 30, 2019. Three round trips operated by Turkish Airlines are expected to be made between Xi'an and Istanbul, with inbound flights on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and outbound ones on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. (Xinhua/Shao Rui)

Israel plans to shut down its skies for international flights as part of a full nationwide closure starting next week, reported Hebrew-language news website “Ynet” on Friday.

The report quoted a senior official in the Ministry of Health, saying that “the closure means that there is no entry to Israel and no exit.”

The financial news website TheMarker reported that the ministry is expected to stop flights, but it is possible that some flights, with a special permission, will be allowed to operate.

Israel Airports Authority (IAA) spokesman Ofer Lefler told Xinhua that the IAA is not currently preparing for halting flights, as since the country’s pandemic outbreak in late February, Ben Gurion Airport has not been totally closed.

He added that the IAA will address the issue and update only after receiving an order from the government.

On Thursday night, Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office and Health Ministry announced in a statement that the Corona Cabinet had decided to impose the full closure due to morbidity rise.

The start date of the closure will be decided by the government at its meeting on Sunday.

Israel officially reopened its skies for international flights on Aug. 16 and declared 30 countries from which those who arrive in Israel are not required to enter 14-day quarantine.

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