Photo Credit: Flash90
Chassidim queue outside a Covid-19 testing facility in Uman, Ukraine at the end of Rosh Hashanah, September 8, 2021.

The Population and Immigration Authority on Friday morning reported that so far it has located 152 passengers who have returned from Ukraine and tested positive for the coronavirus. Twenty direct flights from Ukraine and additional connection flights are expected to land at Ben Gurion International before the start of Shabbat.

A hundred and seventeen Israelis returning from Ukraine were summoned for questioning on suspicion of forgery and fraud, as well as spreading of disease under aggravated circumstances, for boarding their flight after presenting with a fake negative test. Fifty-six of them managed to enter Israel before the lists of suspects and positive tests arriving from Ukraine were transferred to the authorities at Ben Gurion from the Health Ministry. Now they will all be questioned by police.

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Thursday also saw the first individuals with fake negative tests who are, in fact, positive, and they were driven home by dedicated transportation and ambulances, and criminal proceedings will be launched against them. Police estimate that there are hundreds of more such cases.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday ordered severe enforcement measures against returnees from Uman who enter Israel under false pretenses. The following are the PM’s directives:

  • These directives shall apply to all cases of entry into Israel by people verified to have the coronavirus, under false pretenses.
  • All such people who enter the country under false pretenses shall be summoned for investigation by the Israel Police.
  • Full criminal proceedings shall be opened against offenders, in the context of which all relevant charges shall be considered including fraud, forgery and willfully spreading a disease.
  • All people who are verified to have the coronavirus, who returned to Israel under false pretenses and landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport, shall be evacuated to their homes in a designated vehicle or by ambulance, in order to safeguard public health. People with the coronavirus shall be required to pay for the foregoing transportation.
  • All people who are verified to have the coronavirus will be required to be quarantined for 10 days, which will be enforced by the Israel Police. People who are unable to be quarantined at home and declare to this effect will be sent to a coronavirus hotel for at least 10 days.
  • Quarantine violators shall be liable to be detained.
  • Concurrent with the foregoing steps, a specific directive is being considered, in the framework of which returnees from Uman with the coronavirus will be quarantined in coronavirus hotels for 14 days.
  • The Government of Israel views with utmost gravity the entry of people who are verified to have the coronavirus under false pretenses with forged documents and who are willfully spreading a disease, which constitutes the irresponsible act of harming the public peace, and will continue to act severely against offenders.
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David writes news at JewishPress.com.