The Israeli government has announced that Israel's borders, which have been closed for three months to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), will remain closed until at least Monday, June 21. However, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Hayat has stated that the previous target of July 1 for accepting tourists is unlikely to be met, as Israel witnesses its second wave of COVID-19 infections, indicating that the June 21 date is likely to be extended.
Non-citizens are currently not permitted to enter, with exceptions for weddings or funerals of immediate family members, the spouse and children of citizens who can prove that their primary residence is in Israel, those undergoing medical treatment in Israel, and students (at the invitation of their academic institution). All citizen and non-citizen arrivals must undergo a mandatory 14-day period of quarantine, with exceptions for those coming for funerals, provided they remain in Israel for less than 48-hours. Israel's entry requirements affect entry to the Palestinian territories, where the state of emergency has been extended to July 4.
COVID-19 measures in Israel have been eased in recent weeks, with public transport running at 75 percent capacity, and railways running at full capacity. Restaurants, bars, clubs, and beaches have reopened, as have schools, markets, and shopping centers. The wearing of facemasks is mandatory in public.
As of Wednesday, June 17, health authorities have confirmed 19,495 COVID-19 cases and 302 associated deaths in Israel. 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.
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