Israel bans all flights from China as Coronavirus death toll hits 170

Israel’s health ministry banned all flights from China over the coronavirus epidemic, as fears of global contagion grew.

“We shall not allow any flight in the near future from China to land in this country, not one,” health minister Yaakov Litzman said at a press conference.

He added that anyone already in Israel who had traveled from China or stopped over there on the way from another country, should stay at home for 14 days and not mix with the general public, even if they had no symptoms.

Earlier Thursday, El Al announced it was suspending flights to Beijing, its only destination in mainland China, until March 25.

There have been no recorded incidents of the new coronavirus in Israel yet, but the health ministry said it was “a matter of time”.

In addition, there are 28 Israeli civilians on a cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Italy due to concerns some passengers may have contracted the coronavirus.
According to the foreign ministry, a couple of Chinese nationals who were on board of the cruise ship started feeling unwell and were taken by authorities for medical examination.
Italian authorities are not allowing the ship to dock at the country’s ports. Some 6,000 passengers were forced to stay on board until the Chinese couple’s examination results arrive.
The virus has spread to every region in China and to at least 16 countries globally, including Thailand, France, the US and Australia, with the global death toll rising to 170.