Coronavirus

Israel extending closure of airports, land borders for two more weeks due to COVID-19

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Israel said Thursday it will extend the closure of its airports and land borders for 14 more days in a bid to stem the coronavirus pandemic.

A joint statement from the prime minister's office and the health minister said the country's borders will remain closed until March 6, except for urgent reasons.

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Israel had suspended international flights on January 24, before also closing the border crossings with Jordan and Egypt.

However, the immigration ministry said Thursday that six special flights were still authorised to land, carrying some 900 immigrants from Ethiopia, France, Russia, Ukraine and South America.

The new arrivals will be subject to quarantine upon arrival, the ministry said in a statement.

Despite what has been termed the world's fastest vaccination campaign per capita, Israel has been registering a daily average of 4,000 new Covid-19 cases, down from around 8,000 in mid-January, official figures show.

A strict nationwide lockdown was imposed on December 27 and extended four times to combat the infection rate.

On February 5, Israel had announced a gradual easing of lockdown measures, with airports and land borders set to reopen on February 21.

According to latest figures from the health ministry, Israel, with a population of nine million, has registered more than 741,000 cases of Covid-19, including 5,501 deaths.

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