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26 Mar 2020 | 10:50 AM UTC

Israel/Palestinian Terr.: El Al to temporarily suspend all passenger flights from March 27 /update 14

El Al to temporarily suspend all passenger flights from March 27 due to COVID-19; confirm flight itineraries

entry/exit
health
transportation
ISR

Event

On Thursday, March 26, Israel's national flag carrier El Al announced that it will temporarily halt all passenger flights, effective at 00:00 (local time) on Friday, March 27, until April 4, due to reduced demand amid the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). According to airline officials, repatriation flights for Israeli citizens stranded abroad will continue to operate, as will cargo flights.

To date, there have been over 2660 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

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.

Advice

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.