Breaking news coming out of Israel indicates that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government will impose a self-quarantine for a period of 14-days due to the coronavirus. This applies not just to foreign nationals, but also to all Israeli citizens.
Prime Minister Netanyahu took to Twitter to announce the decision:
אחרי יממה של דיונים מורכבים קיבלנו החלטה: כל מי שיגיע לישראל מחו"ל ייכנס לבידוד של 14 יום.
זו החלטה קשה, אבל היא חיונית כדי לשמור על בריאות הציבור – ובריאות הציבור קודמת לפני הכל.
ההחלטה הזאת תהיה בתוקף לשבועיים, במקביל אנחנו מקבלים החלטות כדי לשמור על כלכלת ישראל. pic.twitter.com/5qYFRW3AaC
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) March 9, 2020
A translation of Mr. Netanyahu’s tweet indicates that this mandate will be valid for a period of two weeks. This decision was made as a means to keep Israel from experiencing an outbreak of the coronavirus.
The Jerusalem Post offered some more details:
- Tourists will need to contact Magen David Adom (Israel’s national emergency and disaster medical service and blood bank) if they have any symptoms
- Travelers must maintain proper hygiene
- Foreign arrivals will have to avoid public gatherings
- Tourists cannot leave and then return to Israel on the same trip
- Tourists must report their whereabouts in Israel and indicate they have a place to stay out their self-quarantine
Passengers who do not meet these requirements will not be allowed to enter Israel. This will not, however, apply retroactively to people already in Israel. The measure is effective immediately.
A drastic step
Israel has shown a willingness to take heavy precautions amid the global outbreak. Not too long ago, Israel turned back a Korean Air flight due to concerns about the coronavirus. While Israeli citizens were allowed to deplane, the rest of the passengers were not so lucky.
As the situation continues to evolve, however, Israel will continue to update its policies. As of now, the country is focused on limiting the broader exposure of citizens to the coronavirus.
The impact on airlines
This move will likely lead to a huge drop in demand for tourism. And, it will definitely hurt Israel’s flag carrier, El Al, which is already experiencing some financial strains due to canceled flights. However, the Israeli government will likely help keep El Al afloat.
Foreign airlines will likely not be so lucky. Already, these carriers are facing reduced demand and governmental restrictions on travel to Italy and East Asia. Now, this move will likely blunt a number of travelers who may not have the time to self-quarantine for 14 days. As the measure has just now taken effect, airlines will likely offer change waivers or start canceling flights sooner rather than later to allow customers to rebook and to reduce their own losses or costs.
Travelers who are set to visit Israel should contact their airline, travel agent, or tour operator for information about canceling or rebooking flights. Israel will not allow in foreign nationals who cannot prove a place to stay in self-quarantine for a period of 14 days.
Are your travel plans to Israel affected by this latest move? Let us know in the comments!