Israel's El Al airline started testing unvaccinated travelers this week for COVID-19 at the check-in counter on flights from Tel Aviv to New York City.
On Monday, 112 of the 280 passengers on the nonstop flight to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport had to undergo a rapid antigen test before stepping up to a check-in counter. The results were delivered in 15 to 20 minutes and every single person tested negative, but masks were still required to be worn on the flight.
The pilot program comes as Israel continues its impressive effort to vaccinate its population (about 40% of those over 16 years old are fully vaccinated). It's also in line with both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's requirement that international travelers be tested before boarding a flight to the United States, as well as the requirement that many passengers departing TLV airport undergo a PCR test up to 72 hours before their flight.