International

Israel widens China travel ban over virus fears

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.   | Photo Credit: AP

Authorities have decided to block passengers from third countries who had been to China at any time in the past 14 days.

Israel's interior ministry said on Saturday it was broadening border restrictions to bar entry to anyone who has visited China in the past two weeks.

On Thursday the country barred all flights from China over concern about the coronavirus epidemic, amid growing fears of global contagion.

Saturday's interior ministry announcement went further, blocking passengers from third countries if they had been in China at any time in the past 14 days.

The ban covers air and sea ports as well as land crossings from neighbouring Jordan and Egypt.

The order does not apply to Israeli citizens. Israelis who have been in China have been told to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.

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

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will on Sunday convene government ministers, top civil servants, health officials and the head of Israel's National Security Council to assess the country's preparedness, a statement from the premier's office said.

“We are aware of the fact that it will be impossible to completely prevent the entry of the virus,” it quoted him as saying.

“Therefore, we will be prepared in advance to deal with the virus after its first entry to Israel.”

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 1:25:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/israel-widens-china-travel-ban-over-virus-fears/article30717653.ece

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