Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Israel restrict movement in several Jerusalem neighborhoods through April 15 to curb spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Israel

This alert began 12 Apr 2020 08:18 GMT and is scheduled to expire 17 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel, transport, and business disruptions, heightened security

Summary
Authorities in Israel continue to announce measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. Several Jerusalem neighborhoods will face enhanced movement restrictions from 1200 April 12 through 0700 April 15. The areas in Jerusalem include Neven Yaacov, Ramat Shlomo, Romema, Har Nof, Mea Shearim, Makor Baruch, Bocharim, and some surrounding areas. The order will not apply to industrial sites, Palestinian communities, and non-ultra Orthodox Jewish communities. Residents will be required to stay at home and may only leave their homes for essential purposes. A suspension on incoming flights is likely to be lifted April 12 or 13. The government is set to approve new regulations to allow officials to transfer incoming passengers to designated facilities to wait out their 14-day quarantine.

These latest measures form part of a package of responses by the Israeli authorities in recent weeks to stem the spread of COVID-19.


 

  • All foreigners barred from entering Israel from March 18 until further notice. Israeli citizens and permanent residents are still allowed entry. Israelis returning from abroad who are unable to self-quarantine must enter a designated state-run quarantine facility for a period of 14 days.
  • Israel's national flag carrier El Al (LY) Airlines suspended all passenger flights until at least May 2. El Al officials stated that the company will continue to operate emergency and cargo flights.
  • All border crossings with Jordan and Egypt closed to passenger travel.
  • Closure of nonessential businesses, including shops, cafes, and entertainment venues, nationwide from March 15 for a period of at least five weeks.
  • Residents required to stay within 100 meters (328 feet) of their homes, unless traveling to/from work in vital sectors, purchasing necessities such as food and medicine, seeking medical assistance, or traveling for other specified extenuating circumstances.
  • Suspension of rail services nationwide and a reduction in other forms of public transport.
  • Employers required to perform health screenings on workers and other persons entering their businesses. Any essential business that does not have sufficient space to meet social distancing requirements must reduce its workforce by an additional 15 percent beyond the already mandated 30-percent reduction. Employers are also required to ensure employees remain 2 meters (6 feet) apart when interacting.
  • Closure of schools, universities, and synagogues until further notice.
  • Prohibition on restaurant takeout; delivery services may continue.
  • Public gatherings of more than two people banned; the ban does not apply to members of the same family or individuals working on combating the spread of COVID-19.
  • Prayers in public prohibited.
  • Weddings cannot have any guests, while only 20 people may attend funeral services; up to 10 people may attend a circumcision ceremony.
  • Authorities have introduced legislation making the wearing of masks in public mandatory.
  • Lockdown on Bnei Brak, which is a predominantly ultra-orthodox Jewish town just east of Tel Aviv, through April 15. Residents are allowed to travel beyond the town limits to perform essential tasks, such as work, seeking medical treatment, attending immediate relatives' funerals, and transferring children between separated parents.



Background and Analysis
Israel's travel restrictions and preventive measures correspond with similar 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.

Resources
Israel Government Coronavirus Response Website (in Hebrew): www.gov.il

Israel Ministry of Health (in Hebrew): www.gov.il

El Al Airlines: www.elal.com

World Health Organisation: www.who.int