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Israel to Begin Virus Testing at Airport in ‘Critical Step’ Towards Opening Skies

Israel's Ben Gurion Airport
Israel's Ben Gurion Airport

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel announced on Monday it will begin testing for the novel coronavirus at Ben Gurion airport as a step towards opening up the country’s skies to more travel, Israel Hayom reported.

Israel’s Transportation Ministry said that within 45 days, those planning to leave Israel will be able to pay for testing at the airport. A company called the Omega Institute for Modern Learning in collaboration with the Rambam Medical Center, will conduct the testing.

Travelers will be able to pay $13 for a test that will produce results in 14 hours, or a $40 test that will produce results within four hours.

Passengers will be issued a “medical passport” accepted in all countries. The testing is available for both Israelis exiting the country and those returning. It will shorten the quarantine times for those returning to Israel from abroad.

“The establishment of the corona laboratories at Ben Gurion airport is a critical step in opening the skies. We insisted that the price of the test for the passenger be cheap, accessible and available, and I am glad that the price of the test is reduced in an unprecedented way,” said Transportation Minister Miri Regev.

"I instructed the officials of the Airports Authority to expedite as much as possible the procedures for setting up the laboratory and in the meantime, we are getting the backing from the health system. I congratulate the members of Omega for carrying out the tender quickly for the benefit of passengers," Regev concluded.

Foreign nationals are currently still banned from entering Israel. Israel’s government extended the ban on non-Israeli passport holders until October 1.

The ban has been a huge blow to Israel’s economy, especially its tourism sector, but Health Ministry Deputy Director Professor Itamar Grotto said plans are underway to allow foreign tourists to enter Israel, i24 News reports.

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