Israel To Its Citizens: Don’t Travel Abroad; Returnees From Italy Will Be Subject To 2 Week Coronavirus Quarantine

SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Coronavirus under microscope. Credit: NIAID-RML
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Israel has taken some of the strongest measures in the world against the spread of Coronavirus within its borders.

That has included banning non-Israelis who have visited China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, or Thailand in the past 2 weeks and quarantining Israelis who visited those countries.

Today the country warned its citizens to refrain from all travel out of the country unless there is a genuine need to fly abroad.

Additionally, Israel announced that it would start quarantining Israeli citizens returning from Italy for 2 weeks starting on Sunday. Presumably non-Israelis who have been to Italy will be turned away from entry. El Al has cancelled their flight to and from Milan tomorrow and more cancellations are likely.

Will Israel close its borders completely in response to a global pandemic? It seems like that’s a strong possibility given how they have reacted so far.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago asking if 2/3rds of the planet would be infected and now the CDC says a US outbreak is a question of when, not if and that disruption to everyday life may be severe.

If Israel manages to avoid that fate it would be impressive.

For Americans, it seems like stocking up on shelf-stable food and N95 masks may be a wise move at this point, though unfortunately N95 masks won’t work properly if you have a beard.

How are you preparing for coronavirus and will you freeze your travel plans?

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94 Comments On "Israel To Its Citizens: Don’t Travel Abroad; Returnees From Italy Will Be Subject To 2 Week Coronavirus Quarantine"

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Do you see any issues with flying domestically for now?


Just wear a mask


Paper masks help those who are infected limit the chances of spreading an airborne virus, but do not stop those who are not infected from getting infected.


Any good deals on N95 masks?


All n95 masks that I’ve tried to order or in-store pickup over the last week have all been cancelled……


The company I work for is based in Taiwan w/ offices all over the world and just yesterday sent our NY office (and others) n95 masks (even though the slow economy has virtually cut out all company travel). Actually one of our divisions makes them. Maybe I can help out some people if needed.


“stocking up on shelf-stable food”?!
Sounds quite drastic; chill!
Y2K is over.


Can you shave your beard if it’s to put on a mask if the virus spreads?

Morah A

Do you think there’ll be an issue about going to Israel for Pesach????


Israel has shown it’s not afraid to close its borders to non citizens, when they’re coming from a country that has had outbreaks. I assume the us will fall into that category soon, and so I would not be surprised at all if israel closes its borders in the coming weeks


As an Israeli it seems to me a little harsh. This wasn’t even a decision of high government officials, just an internal Ministry of Health committee.
They definitely did not take into account the damage this will cost the economy.


It wasnt a decision (at this point) it’s just a recommendation.


It was a decision to make a recommendation. Such decisions can destroy a small business


Imagine what will happen to the economy if it does hit c”v. China half HALF of it’s citizens under quarantine and look at the effect on its economy (and ours).


Do you think a stop over in Italy would warrant a 2 week quarantine?


There will be no flights from Italy, so that’s not even a question


I had the same question. Alitalia says (as of today) despite Israel’s statement, there are no plans cancel our Tel Aviv to US Peisach flights with stopovers in Rome. And what Israel govt does won’t affect that (and Israel so far is saying citizens will be let back in, though subject to quarantine). However Alitalia advised keeping track over what Italian govt decides.


The Tel Aviv Marathon (28 Feb, this Friday) was told by the Ministry of Health that all foreign people were to be barred from racing. This was announced Sunday. A lot of upset people. Supposedly they were also talking about canceling it outright, but nothing further on that. And now people who are already in Israel are being told they might be able to run. Talk is the same is going to happen with the Jerusalem Marathon (20 March). I already have my tickets and registration for that in hand… :-/

Rich C

Perhaps the beard is the least of your problems if all these forecasts come to fruition.


Would border closings prevent people from flying out of israel or only in?


Probably wont be able to fly out, which pilot will fly if they know they wont be let back in?

Yael Horovitz

If they’re not letting people in the airlines will stop flying eventually

nsx at FlyerTalk

It’s the Israeli Express card: Don’t leave home.


Do you think Americans currently in Israel should maybe make their way back home to the US?


Can someone explain to me why coronavirus is causing mass world disruption but the flu which kills just as many people is harmless? Someone?


New virus spreading much faster and often presents with minor, unspecific symptoms so people keep working, shopping, traveling & spreading it unknowingly. The prediction is that 60% of world pop could get the virus, so even if death rate <1% that’s a LOT of people chas v’sholom. Plus that many people out of work (plus the people caring for them) even if only for a week, could cause major disruptions in economies.


If I already purchased tickets on Alitalia in December for my children to come from Israel for Pesach is there any chance I can get a refund?


My son and his family including 2 month old (Israeli/American) have plane tickets booked for a trip to come to NY from israel next week for 2 weeks via Elal. Should he consider cancelling and is there any chance they would get a refund?


Would you be worried to fly internationally now? I’m scheduled to fly next week to Russia and Hungary…


Somewhat. If you leave the country you risk traveling to an area with an outbreak. There could also be an outbreak at home and then you are stuck abroad and faced with the decision of going back to an area with an outbreak.

Hopefully airlines will be issuing waivers. I wouldn’t cancel anything until closer to departure.


i have to cancel a trip next week on british airways to tel aviv for entire family can i hope for any waivers ?


Will there be enough matzo in Israel if no-one flies out?


R’ Dan,
I have a flight from JFK to EY right after Purim for a few days with Alitalia (stopover in Rome airport) and returning with Air France (stopover in Paris Airport) 1) Will Israel let me in? 2) Will the USA let me back in? If not and I have to cancel, how do I get my points back from Flying Blue?


Israel is currently instructing citizens who have been in italy to quarantine. I dont know if they’re letting in foreigners who have been in Italy


Question is if it even applies to flyovers too or someone who was in Italy for a period of time?


Aaaaand since I wrote my comment above Israel has now blocked entrance officially to anyone who has been in italy.
I imagine a stopover counts but I dont actually know


Any idea on how to find out?


Is there a valid concern of Americans in Israel who plan on coming home for pesach?


I’m genuinely fascinated with all the names of the various facial hairstyles.


Choose your style, in time for Purim.


lets not forget that over 30,000 people have already fully recovered!! EVEN BEFORE ANY VACCINE CAME OUT!! This overdone panic is negatively affecting a lot of jobs = money!


As of now Italy is on the list, effective immediately no Non Israeli citizens will be allowed to enter Israel, and all passenger that returned from Italy withing the past 14 days are required to quarantine immediately until 14 days from their return date pass.
due to a person that returned from Italy being diagnosed with the Corona virus today, all passengers that returned to TLV on ELAL flight LY382 this past Sunday Feb 23, are required to report to the Israeli Health Department and undertake quarantine procedures immediately. ELLA has now announced that they are trying to reach out to all passengers of that flight.


Wise decision


4.55 million tourists visited Israel last year – a record. Terrible news for pilgrims of many faiths, and the Israeli businesses who accommodate them.

Interior Minister Arye Dery announces he intends to sign on Thursday a decree to ban visitors from Italy from entering Israel. This includes anyone traveling via Italy who does not hold Israeli citizenship.

An Israeli man who returned from Italy earlier this week tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus, the Health Ministry says. He will be placed under quarantine at the Sheba Medical Center in central Israel.

El Al announced it would suspend its flights to all destinations in Italy as of Friday, as well as to Thailand starting Monday, as toll of coronavirus cases rises in both countries.


I advise anyone with Alitalia tickets to ask now for a refund based on the non entry rule. Book on another airline, because they won’t automatically compensate you if they have to cancel for a health crisis.


Does anyone have any idea where I can get masks? they seem to buy sold out everywhere.


Guns killed 150 million American people in past few years, according to the former VP, and yet the current VP is wasting his time on Coronavirus. Ridicules!!


That was senile Joe Biden totally skewing the numbers. You think almost half of Americans died due to gun violence?


How many masks would one person need during an outbreak?


Costco today looked like a hurricane is coming… Limits on bottled water.