Entry/Exit: Israeli authorities announce closure of cafes, restaurants, and shops starting March 15 to stem spread of COVID-19).

This alert affects Israel

This alert began 14 Mar 2020 23:02 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Business closures
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry and restrictions, business closures, health screenings, increased immigration wait times

Summary
Israeli authorities announced a series of preventive measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), March 14. Cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, and shops will be closed starting March 15 for a period of at least five weeks. The new measures do not affect grocery stores, fuel stations, and pharmacies. While there have not been any measures impacting public transport, authorities have asked the public to limit its use. Authorities have also imposed a ban on any gatherings that exceed 10 people. Leisure, entertainment, and sports venues will also be closed effective the morning of March 15.

Officials announced March 12 that Israel would close schools and universities nationwide until further notice. The measure does not include kindergartens, special education facilities, and boarding schools. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously announced March 11 a ban on indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, with possible exceptions related to security issues and public need.

Authorities previously announced that all arrivals to Israel will be required to self-quarantine at home for two weeks. The quarantine order is effective for Israelis as of 2000 March 9 and for foreigners as of 2000 March 12. Foreigners will be required to demonstrate that they have adequate accommodations to self-quarantine or they will be barred from entry. Netanyahu stated that the order will be effective for two weeks. International travelers arriving at Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) will be denied access to its train station from March 11. Domestic travelers, aircrew, and airport staff will be permitted access, upon showing valid travel permits or flight tickets.

Israel closed the Taba crossing point with Egypt on March 8 and barred the entry of foreigners who have traveled to Egypt within the past 14 days, in addition to those who have traveled to Austria, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and Thailand.

The travel restrictions and other measures come amid the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which originated in China's Wuhan City in Hubei Province. The purpose of the measures is to prevent the spread of the disease. The WHO has declared the virus a global health emergency. As of March 14, Israeli authorities have confirmed at least 193 cases of COVID-19.

Advice
Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone planned travel to Israel. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.