Passengers on flights from China must get COVID test - Health Ministry

COVID infections have swept across China since November, with as many as 9,000 death caused by the virus each day.

 Travellers stand at a ticketing counter at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport amid a wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China December 30, 2022.  (photo credit: TINGSHU WANG/REUTERS)
Travellers stand at a ticketing counter at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport amid a wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China December 30, 2022.
(photo credit: TINGSHU WANG/REUTERS)

Passengers on flights from China to Israel will only be allowed to board after getting a negative coronavirus test due to the rising infection rates in China, Health Minister Arye Deri decided on Friday.

Deri also ordered the establishment of a voluntary testing site for passengers arriving from China to Israel at Ben-Gurion Airport.

The Health Ministry recommends that Israeli citizens avoid traveling to China unless absolutely necessary.

Coronavirus outbreak continues to accelerate in China

Around 9,000 people in China are probably dying each day from COVID-19, UK-based health data firm Airfinity said on Thursday, nearly doubling its estimate from a week ago, as infections ripped across the world's most populous nation.

 Test tubes labelled ''COVID-19 Omicron variant test positive'' are seen in this illustration picture taken January 15, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION) Test tubes labelled ''COVID-19 Omicron variant test positive'' are seen in this illustration picture taken January 15, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION)

COVID infections started to sweep across China in November, picking up pace this month after Beijing dismantled its zero-COVID policies including regular PCR testing on its population and publication of data on asymptomatic cases.

A number of countries, including Japan, Spain, Italy and the US, have already issued orders requiring passengers coming from China to get tested for the coronavirus before boarding flights.

The European Union should consider immediately scaling up genomic sequencing of COVID-19 infections and monitoring of waste water, including from airports, to detect any new variants given the virus surge in China, the bloc's health chief said on Friday.