Israeli Closes International Airport Amid Virus Strain Fears

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 15: Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu waves as he arrives outside the West Wing of the White House September 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Israel was shutting down the international airport to nearly all flights. This is expected to last through the end of the month.

The closure of Israel’s main airport comes as the nation struggles to contain the outbreak. The emergence of the new variant has also threatened to undercut the nation’s highly successful vaccination push to its citizens.

Travellers wait by the check-in desk at the departures area of Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, on January 24, 2021. – The Israeli government on January 24 banned incoming and outgoing flights for a week, a statement said, in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19 variants. Exceptions will be made for cargo and firefighting flights, as well as medical treatments, funerals and legal procedures. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

“We are shutting down the Ben Gurion Airport today,” Netanyahu stated. “As opposed to what’s being said, we are ahead of the entire world, no country has done what we are about to do. We are doing it, hermetically shutting down the sky, except for unusual rare cases, to prevent the entry of variants of the virus.”

The closure will go into effect at midnight Monday and will remain in effect until at least January 31.

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