Israeli authorities announced on Wednesday, May 20, an extension to the entry ban on foreign nationals until Monday, June 15, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. The Israeli Airport Authority notified airlines of the extension on May 20. Many airlines including Air Canada, Lufthansa, and Delta previously announced the resumption of flight operations to Israel beginning early June. It is therefore unclear as to how the extension will affect those plans. Additionally, Israeli nationals returning from abroad will be required to self-isolate for 14-days.
On Tuesday, May 19, Israeli authorities announced plans to further ease COVID-19 restrictions. in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Per the directive, restaurants, bars, clubs, and beaches will be allowed to reopen nationwide from Wednesday, May 27, public buses will also be permitted to operate at full capacity during peak hours from May 27.
Since Monday, May 4, residents may visit relatives and travel anywhere within the country, markets, and shopping centers reopened, and schools began to gradually reopen to resume their regular schedules. Netanyahu warned that previous restrictive measures may be reimplemented if infection rates increase.
As of Friday, May 22, health authorities have confirmed 16,690 COVID-19 cases and 279 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
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 (Hubei province, 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 numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored 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.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.