Coronavirus: Israel to bring in 14-day quarantine for all arrivals

A young couple wearing protective masks are greeted upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv on 4 March 2020Image copyright AFPImage caption All arrivals in Israel will have to self-quarantine for the next two weeks

Everyone arriving in Israel will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days to combat coronavirus, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced.

“All those coming to Israel from abroad will be placed in isolation for 14 days,” he said on his Twitter account.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said the measure would be effective immediately for all Israelis returning to the country.

It will apply to foreign citizens from Thursday, he added.

They will have to prove they have adequate accommodation to be quarantined during their stay in the country.

“After a day of complex discussions, we made a decision: everyone who comes to Israel from abroad will enter the 14-day isolation,” Mr Netanyahu said in a statement.

“This is a tough decision, but it is essential to maintain public health – and public health precedes everything.”

He added the ruling would be valid for two weeks.

The measure means some 300,000 citizens in a country of around nine million would need to self-isolate, Israeli media report.

Israel has so far recorded 42 cases of Covid-19, and no deaths.

It has already imposed restrictions on travellers arriving from several countries including Italy, the worst-hit European country.

In other developments:

  • Canada has confirmed the first death related to the virus – an elderly male patient in a care home in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • In France, Culture Minister Franck Riester has become the first member of the government to be infected with the virus. His team said he had spent several days of the past week in parliament, where a number of other cases have been confirmed
  • Iran confirmed 7,161 infections and 237 deaths, however the real figures are feared to be much higher
  • In the US, the number of confirmed cases exceeds 500
  • A cruise ship carrying thousands of people who were stranded for days due to a coronavirus outbreak is reported to have docked at the port of Oakland, near San Francisco

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Media captionPope Francis on videolink address: “The Pope is caged in the library”

What is the situation elsewhere?

The number of infections worldwide is now more than 111,000, with about 3,890 deaths.

China, which has recorded the highest number of fatalities, reported just 40 new cases of Covid-19, the lowest since 20 January.

Although this indicates that the spread there is slowing, senior officials warned against reducing vigilance.



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