Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Israel reimpose restrictions in several areas from July 10 due to an increase in COVID-19 activity. Other measures in place.

  • Alert Begins: 10 Jul 2020 02:00 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 15 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel, transport, and business disruptions; heightened security

Summary
Authorities in Israel have reimposed a series of restrictions in several areas due to an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Officials have declared parts of Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem, Kiryat Malachi, Lod, and Ramle as restricted zones from 1300 July 10 to 0800 July 17. Entry into and exit from restricted areas will be limited; the measures will also impact business activity and transport within the restricted areas.

Under the new directive, event halls, bars, clubs, gyms, and public pools must close until further notice; cultural performances are canceled. Gatherings are limited to 20 people, and participants must wear protective face coverings and comply with social distancing guidelines. Authorities have reimposed capacity restrictions on restaurants, houses of worship, and public buses. Officials may declare additional restricted zones in the coming days, depending on the evolution of disease activity.

Israel's existing ban on nonresident foreign nationals entering the country will remain through at least Aug. 1. Israeli citizens and legal residents may return to Israel but are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Arriving travelers who cannot demonstrate that they can self-quarantine at home will be quarantined at a government-established facility.

Israel's flag carrier El Al (LY) Airlines has extended its suspension of regular passenger flights until July 31; cargo and emergency flights remain unaffected. Nevertheless, El Al is operating limited direct flights between Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) and select international destinations, including Paris, London, Los Angeles, and New York City through Aug. 2. The government may allow flights with Greece and Cyprus to resume Aug. 1, depending on COVID-19 activity in the coming weeks.

Authorities had been gradually easing restrictions as part of the nation's COVID-19 recovery plan. The following reopenings remain in effect:

 

  • Daytime train operations have resumed nationwide. Trains are limited to 500 passengers, and tickets must be reserved 48 hours before travel. Furthermore, face coverings and temperature checks are required for boarding. Nighttime train services remain suspended until further notice.

 

  • Places of worship are operating, although they must comply with government directives on capacity limits, use of protective face coverings, and social distancing during prayer services.

 

  • Public transportation has resumed at full capacity between 0700-0830 and 1300-1500 daily. The measure does not apply to buses, which are limited to 20 passengers.

 

  • There is no more limit on how far residents may travel from their homes.

 

  • Schools, parks, and nature reserves are open.

 

  • Shops, malls, and outdoor markets are open.

 


The government reserves the authority to shut down any establishments that fail to comply with mandates to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as mandatory use of face coverings, daily temperature checks of employees, and regular sanitization of communal surfaces, among other requirements.

Background and Analysis
Israel's restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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