Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Israeli authorities close schools and universities nationwide from March 12. Further measures and restrictions are likely.

This alert affects Israel

This alert began 12 Mar 2020 20:31 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced March 12 that Israel will close schools and universities nationwide until further notice to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure does not include kindergartens, special education facilities, and boarding schools. 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 12, Israeli authorities have confirmed at least 109 cases of COVID-19.

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.