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12 Feb 2020 | 11:24 AM UTC

Israel/Palestinian Terr.: El Al suspends all flights to Hong Kong, reduces flights to Bangkok February 12 /update 2

El Al suspends all flights to Hong Kong and reduces flights to Bangkok (Thailand) February 12 due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak; confirm flight reservations



El Al Airlines announced on Wednesday, February 12, that it would suspend all flights to Hong Kong until March 20, in an effort to prevent further spread of the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. El Al will also reduce flights to Bangkok (Thailand) from twice-daily to once-daily on certain days.

Additionally, the airline has extended its suspension of all flights to mainland China to April 24; the original suspension was announced on January 30, and continued through March 25.

On Monday, February 3, the Israeli government announced it would restrict entry to non-residents who have recently traveled to China due to the ongoing outbreak. Any traveler that has been in China in the previous 14 days will be denied entry. Residents, including dual US-Israeli nationals, will be required to remain in home quarantine until 14 days have passed since the date of departure from China.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Israel to date.

Further international spread of the COVID-19 virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in 28 countries and territories worldwide. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a "public health emergency of international concern."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
  • Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments