Cabinet said set to end mandatory quarantine at hotels for overseas arrivals

 Cabinet said set to end mandatory quarantine at hotels for overseas arrivals

cabinet said set to end mandatory quarantine at hotels for overseas arrivals 5eb2853f67ec6

Ministers were reportedly set to vote Tuesday to allow Israelis returning from overseas to quarantine for two weeks at home rather than at state-run hotels.

According to Channel 12 news, the proposal received backing during a meeting of government officials and was awaiting cabinet approval.

The plan would task municipal inspectors — rather than police — with enforcement of the quarantine for those isolating themselves at home, the network said.

Since March, Israel has required anyone coming from abroad to enter quarantine for two weeks and last month made it mandatory for people to stay at state-run facilities during that period.

Those staying at the hotels have been tested for the coronavirus to ensure they are not carrying it before being released.

Ministers have recently raised objections to the hotels, arguing they are massively expensive and that their difficult conditions have led to several suicide attempts by occupants.

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The Dan Hotel in Jerusalem that was converted to receive coronavirus patients, March 17, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

According to a Channel 12 report Saturday, the National Security Council held two meetings on the issue of the hotels last week with representatives of the military’s Home Front Command and the finance and welfare ministries, in which problems were raised with the current system.

The TV report said hotel occupants have complained of being forced to stay in their rooms at all times, leading them to feel as though they were under arrest and many to report severe psychological difficulties as a result.

Indeed, it said there had been several suicide attempts at the hotels — though it provided no further details or figures.

Another issue raised was the high cost of maintaining the facilities, estimated at some NIS 200 million ($57 million) a month.

The report said some government officials are now calling for the hotels to be shuttered and alternative facilities to be found. But the NSC is opposed to such action at this time.

Before the quarantine hotels became mandatory, many arrivals were allowed to go home upon landing to quarantine there, sometimes via taxis.

Many cases of infection have been found among arrivals from abroad.

International flights have slowed down to a trickle amid the pandemic and foreign citizens are not allowed to enter the country, but a small number of flights are continuing between Israel and several locations mostly in Europe and the US.

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