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18 Feb 2020 | 01:08 AM UTC

Israel: Government issues quarantine orders for travelers from Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macao February 16 /update 3

Ministry of Health extends quarantine orders to include travelers from Thailand, Hong King, Singapore, and Macao on February 16, due to ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak; spread of the virus is possible in the near term



The Ministry of Health expanded quarantine orders on Sunday, February 16, to include individuals arriving in Israel that have traveled to Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Macao in the preceding 14 days. Such individuals are required to self-quarantine for 14 days and contact the Ministry of Health. The decree does not include individuals that transited in the aforementioned countries. Previous quarantine orders included individuals having traveled to China, Taiwan, South Korea, or Japan.

As of Sunday, the ministry also advises individuals to reconsider nonessential travel to Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macao, South, Korea, and Taiwan. This is in addition to the government's travel advisory warning not to travel to China.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Israel to date. However, 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 February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is a "very grave threat."

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.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.