Health Ministry advises Israelis to avoid travels abroad: Coronavirus is no longer containable

Israel’s Health Ministry called on Israelis to reconsider the necessity of flights abroad due to the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the first country to urge its citizens to avoid international travels entirely because of the virus.

“If you don’t genuinely have to fly — don’t do so,” the ministry said in a travel warning.

The ministry also stated that it will require all Israelis who returned from Italy since February 16 to be quarantined in home isolation for two weeks.

Israel has already banned the entry of foreigners who have been to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand Singapore, South Korea and Japan in the 14 days prior.

Israel has also already canceled all flights to and from China and mandated 14 days of home quarantine for travelers from Asian countries.

“The situation assessment shows a high likelihood that the disease has spread in other regions of Europe and many other places in the world,” the ministry said, adding that “traveling to conferences and other international congregations, including trips to religious events where people from many countries meet, should also be avoided. Additionally, international conferences to be held in Israel should be avoided.”

The ministry’s working assumption is that at some point the virus will reach Israel, but delaying its arrival and earning time to learn as much as possible about the virus and the disease it causes is still possible.

There have only been two confirmed cases in the country — both of whom were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship where hundreds were infected and were already in quarantine when diagnosed.

Sheba Medical Center has robots monitoring patients to help reduce the amount of time the nurses or other medical staff spend with quarantined patients.