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32 Israeli passengers removed from Russia-bound flights in COVID crackdown


clock 2 min read

Travelers at the Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on April 18, 2021.
Yossi Aloni/Flash90Travelers at the Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on April 18, 2021.

Passengers able to evade security and check-in without obtaining necessary approval

Population and Immigration Authority border inspectors at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday removed a total of 32 Israelis from flights destined for Russia.

The passengers reportedly managed to get past security and check-in and board the planes without obtaining the necessary approval.

Russia is listed as a "red country" that Israel has deemed to have a high COVID-19 infection rate. According to Israel's Health Ministry, Israeli citizens and permanent residents who want to travel to a country with a severe coronavirus rating must request permission from the Exceptions Committee. 

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Eight Israeli passengers were pulled from a morning flight scheduled to depart for Moscow and 24 passengers were removed from an evening flight also headed to the Russian capital.

Both flights were operated by Russian airline Aeroflot.

Israel also announced on Tuesday that travelers returning from certain high-risk countries will have to disembark at a separate terminal than passengers arriving from so-called "green countries" with low infection rates in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus at the airport.

This separation will allow passengers to travel the entire chain of entry into the country — disembarkation, PCR screening test, passport control, baggage, customs and return home — in a controlled manner.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said earlier in the day that Israel was considering completely banning entry from countries with high COVID-19 infection rates.