Israel’s International Ben Gurion Airport is on the way to becoming a “Green Terminal” through the “Safe Flight” program and the use of antigen tests for incoming passengers.
Antigen tests are immunoassays that detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, COVID-19 in this case. The tests in use were developed by Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
The new test works by detecting protein portions of the virus. It yields results within two to 15 minutes and has a 100% success rate in identifying people who are infected.
The program will enable non-Israelis to arrive in the country and enter it after testing negative with the rapid testing. Foreign nationals can enter Israel on condition they receive permission from a special committee before they travel, the Population Immigration and Border Authority said.
A trial is being conducted on inbound El Al flights.
The country is limiting the number of daily entries to 3,000.
Israel has only recently reopened its skies after several weeks of closure in an attempt to block the import of new COVID-19 variants into the country.
The government fears that a variant resistant to the vaccines it using to inoculate the population will enter the country and overturn the progress it has made in fighting the pandemic and reopening the economy.