COVID: start of construction of the expanded test site at Ben-Gurion airport

The Israeli government on Friday morning launched construction of an expanded coronavirus testing site – in the form of a massive tent – at Ben-Gurion Airport, which will have the capacity to administer up to 2,500 tests per hour .

The announcement, which came from the Defense and Transport ministries, highlighted how this will allow more tests to be administered before the next summer months.

The tent will be approximately 1,500 m². Construction began on Friday, will take a Shabbat break and resume on Saturday evening, so the site will be up and running by next week.

“After a year and a half of the global pandemic, we have started construction of a large test site at Ben-Gurion Airport to reduce waiting times and enable rapid results,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted on Friday. morning.

“Things are moving! He added, thanking Transport Minister Merav Michaeli, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.

“This new test site is absolutely necessary in the fight for the health of the public and the defense of Israel’s borders against the virus,” said Michaeli, adding that this decision is similar to the government’s decision to divert incoming passengers. to Ben Gurion Terminal 1.

Michaeli, whose idea was first proposed by the ministry, said the move comes in light of expected air traffic as summer approaches.

Although June marked the month with the lowest number of cases since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 with just six deaths, the infectious spread of the Delta variant made headlines.

“The expansion of the testing capacity at Ben-Gurion Airport as summer approaches is an extremely important tool in the struggle for the economic and health well-being of Israeli citizens,” Gantz said.

In the first two weeks of June, there were fewer than 200 cases in Israel. Two weeks later, after the first of the new outbreaks, Israel’s health ministry recorded around 2,000 active cases. The epidemics started in several Israeli schools.

About 0.5% of the 63,000 tests administered Thursday gave a positive result, with nearly 300 new cases reported. Rossella Tercatin contributed to this report.


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