Home News Israel Up to 80,000 Israelis currently quarantined over possible coronavirus exposure

Up to 80,000 Israelis currently quarantined over possible coronavirus exposure

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Tourists wearing face masks for fear of the coronavirus tours at the Church of the Nativity on March 05, 2020. (Photo by Wissam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Between 50,000 and 80,000 Israelis are currently in home quarantine due to potential exposure to the coronavirus as the country tries to stem the spread of the new disease.

As of this evening, 17 Israelis had been diagnosed with coronavirus, but many more are considered at high risk of exposure because of their recent travel history.

On Wednesday, Israel added several European countries to the list of those that Israelis returning from must self-quarantine for two weeks: Austria, Germany, Spain, France, or Switzerland. These countries are in addition to mainland China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and Italy, where restrictions have already been in place.

The travel restrictions were part of new guidelines announced Wednesday by the Health Ministry that also require Israel organizations to cancel all international conferences until further notice.

Mass events over 5,000 people also are forbidden. This restriction has led to the cancellation of concerts, sports events, the Jerusalem Marathon and dozens of Purim events.

Israelis in home quarantine must register with the Health Ministry. Most of those in home quarantine have returned from countries where the virus has spread, Boaz Lev, who heads the Israeli health ministry’s epidemic treatment unit, told Israel’s Channel 12.

Lev said the quarantine effort depends on Israelis “acting as model citizens” — which he said was happening.

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