Nearly 200 Israeli Students Quarantined After Contact With Coronavirus


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Over 200 Israelis, most of them middle school students, have been ordered into quarantine after coming into contact with a group of South Korean tourists, some of whom were infected with the coronavirus.

Students and teachers from three Israeli cities have been ordered by the Health Ministry to self-quarantine in their homes after visiting tourist sites at the same time as the group from South Korea. Nine members of the group, who returned home last week after a two-week visit to Israel, have since tested positive for coronavirus. It is not known when they contracted the virus, but since the incubation period for the virus is 14 days, it is possible that they had it while they toured Israel.

The group visited Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Masada, Beersheba, Caesarea and Hebron. They also visited Palestinian territories, according to their itinerary, which was posted on the website of the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry announced a ban on entry to any foreign traveler who has visited Japan, South Korea, Macau, Thailand, Singapore or Hong Kong in the last 14 days. Israeli citizens who have been to those countries will be required to self-quarantine.

On Saturday, Israel barred entry to passengers on board a Korean Air passenger jet that had landed at Ben Gurion Airport. Israelis on the flight were taken by ambulance to their homes, where they were ordered to remain in quarantine.

On Sunday, Israeli Education Minister Rafi Peretz ordered the cancelation of high school trips to Poland due to the virus, saying he was abiding by the recommendations of the Health Ministry.  Some 29 delegations comprising over 3,000 students, which were scheduled to depart between Sunday and March 4, were canceled, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported.