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Israel reinstitutes COVID testing at airport, albeit voluntary

New testing does not indicate concern for the present but for possible uptick in infections this winter

Ben-Gurion International Airport, Nov. 1, 2021. (Photo: Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90)

In case anyone wanted to go back to the heydays of 2021, Israel's Ministry of Health is offering free, voluntary COVID tests for passengers coming through Ben-Gurion International Airport.

The new PCR testing complex, initiated today, is subsidized by the government, "with the aim of improving the accessibility of tests for those returning to Israel from abroad as part of the preparation for winter," according to a Health Ministry post on Facebook.

So far, the testing will only be available between 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. but the ministry hopes to make it available 24/7 soon.

"The coronavirus continues to produce new variants all the time," the ministry said in its announcement on Facebook. "The danger of the coronavirus is not over and there is a real likelihood of another wave of sickness this coming winter combined with the flu."

The Health Ministry said the PCR test will allow it to identify variants which is the reason it is recommended for people returning from abroad.

But the new testing sites do belie a recent rise in COVID. Current COVID cases are actually on the decline after a spike that many feared would spin out of control in June. According to Ministry of Health statistics, only 1,086 new cases were reported yesterday while 163 people are hospitalized in serious condition.

Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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