Up to 100,000 Israelis in isolation as Israel expands traveler quarantine

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With at least 50,000 people in quarantine, the Health Ministry on Wednesday expanded its list of restrictive orders, which will likely lead to thousands more Israelis going into home isolation. By some reports, as many as 100,000 people are currently in isolation. “We have to understand, we are in the midst of a global epidemic,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a press conference, “the most dangerous of these epidemics in the last 100 years.” He said that Israel is in one of the best positions of any Western country.

“We had to take tough, even very rigid steps to slow the spread of the disease in Israel, and indeed it did,” the prime minister said. “Today we will take similar steps, dozens more steps.” Those steps include that a person returning to the country from France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain or Austria will be required to enter 14 days of quarantine. This restriction is retroactive and applies from the date that a person landed back in Israel. On Wednesday, some 19 flights were expected to land in Israel from these European countries, which would put hundreds more Israelis in quarantine, Channel 12 reported. Many of them would not even be aware of the new guidelines upon landing in Israel. Moreover, no foreigners arriving from these countries may enter Israel unless they can prove that they have a place in which they can be quarantined for the requisite time period. Any foreign traveler who has been in Iran, Iraq, Syria or Lebanon for the 14 days prior to arrival in Israel will not be allowed to enter. As a result of the travel restrictions, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Aviv Kochavi pushed off his upcoming trip to Washington. Healthcare workers are forbidden from international travel, and it is recommended that civil workers refrain from travel, too.