Poland jails Israelis after testing positive for COVID

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Travelers at Ben-Gurion Airport, July 19, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

At least ten Israeli tourists who tested positive at the airport in Warsaw, Poland within the last month were transferred to Polish jails, prisons, and detainment centers, according to Ynet.

One Israeli woman, who Ynet reported boarded a flight to Poland despite testing positive in Israel, was arrested upon landing.

“This is a terrible experience. I suggest people not to leave the country. This is not the time,” she told Ynet.

The woman faces up to a 30,000 zloty fine (about $7500) and will remain in the jail cell until her ten day quarantine period expires.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry is warning potential travelers that unlike most Western countries, Poland does not offer a hotel quarantine option to visitors who test positive. Rather, they are placed into isolation in correctional facilities typically used for criminals.

“In recent weeks, there have been a number of cases in which Israeli citizens were arrested in Poland for ‘breach of quarantine’ when they arrived at the airport, after being found positive by corona checks before the flight,” warned a statement from the Ministry, adding that it does not have the power to appeal decisions made by local health authorities in the country.

Rabbi Sholom Ber Stombler, a local Chabad emissary, said his organization was working around the clock to assist Israelis locked up in Polish detention facilities.

“We help in all sorts of ways. Now for example, I work as a translator because there is not a translator in all of Warsaw who agreed to come [to the jail] because it is a facility for corona patients,” he told Ynet.
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“No one is willing to come here. [We] bring them everything they need, from food to reading books and laundry and more.”

Some of the patients who tested positive before departing Poland, Ynet reported, were those who had already recovered from the virus and were actually exempt from a pre-flight check.

Nonetheless, they were tested and incarcerated after being found positive