Israel Braces against Coronavirus

February 24, 2020

by: Kate Norman

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Passengers at Ben Gurion Airport (illustrative)

Monday, 24 February 2020 | As nearly 80,000 worldwide have reportedly been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus and more and more countries announce confirmed cases of the virus, Israeli officials are fighting to prevent its spread within the Jewish state. Israel has now placed a travel ban on any non-nationals arriving from Japan and South Korea and is urging Israelis arriving from trips to Italy, Taiwan and Australia to remain isolated for two weeks after their trip.

Israel’s Health Ministry has urged people to avoid traveling to nations affected by the virus, including China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Macau, and recently Australia and Italy as well. The government is urging people who have come into contact with another infected person or who have recently traveled to countries with confirmed cases of the virus to undergo a self-quarantine upon return to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at a special meeting with the Health Ministry yesterday that he is appointing a ministerial team to meet daily to tackle the virus. Though some officials worry about the travel bans causing diplomatic tensions with other nations, the Jewish state has indicated overall that it places preventing the virus at the highest priority.

“I have said that over-preparation is preferable to under-preparation,” he said. “Until now, Israel has been stricter than any other country and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus in Israel.”

More and more people are getting quarantined after 18 South Korean tourists were recently confirmed to have the virus after returning from a trip to the Jewish state earlier this month. The Ministry of Health posted the group’s travel itinerary, urging anyone who might have come into contact with them to self-quarantine.

A Ynetnews report said Israel is planning on quarantining a group of 200 South Koreans currently touring the Jewish state who are suspected of carrying the virus.

Fifteen Israelis were aboard the infamous Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was isolated off the coast of Japan for two weeks and had over 600 cases of the virus out of the 3,700 passengers and 1,045 crew members. Four infected Israelis were transported to hospitals in Japan, where they remain for treatment and are reported to be in good condition. The other 11 were flown back to Israel on Friday and are being kept in isolation for two weeks—the incubation period for the virus. So far, two have tested positive for the virus.

As the virus spreads, the highest clusters of the virus located outside of China are in South Korea with nearly 600 infected, Iran with 50 dead from the virus, and the Diamond Princess with another 600 infected.

Kuwait has also reported its first few cases, which it says spread from Iran. Now at least 30 nations have confirmed cases, and the virus keeps spreading. The Jewish state has its work cut out to prevent the spread within the nation.

Posted on February 24, 2020

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 24, 2020)

Photo Credit: Rakoon/

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