No, Israel Hasn’t Enacted A Quarantine On US Arrivals…Yet.

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SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Coronavirus under microscope. Credit: NIAID-RML
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Update, 3/9: A quarantine for all international arrivals has been announced.


I’ve been getting endless messages from readers asking if airlines will be refunding their tickets due to the new quarantine requirements for passengers coming from the US.

The only problem is that there is no such quarantine requirement and news reports like this are just #FakeNews:

 

It comes on the heels of fake news reported last week that flights between the US and Israel were being suspended.

While Israel’s health ministry would definitely like to add a quarantine requirement, that would require the acquiescence of Prime Minister Netanyahu. So far he has been unwilling to sign off on a US quarantine due to political and economic reasons.

That can change of course in the coming days, as more is learned about the virus and as the US is consulted about how to move forward.

The whole situation makes little sense of course. Israel’s draconian quarantine measures haven’t been replicated by any other country. If they succeed in avoiding community spread of coronovirus then they’ll be hailed as genius, but that’s a big if. However if Israel is playing politics about which countries have a quarantine requirement, then it means the entire quarantine effort is a farce.

The rumors of a US quarantine were that people who had been to California, New York, or Washington State would be subject to quarantine. But as there are no records of what states you visit, it would all be based on the honor system.

So Israel’s in a tough bind here. It should be interesting to see which side wins out this week.

If it were left up to Israel’s health ministry they would probably seal the borders and enact a 2 week quarantine on everyone in Israel. But that doesn’t take into account the economic devastation that would come from closing the borders.

Do you think Israel will enact a quarantine on passengers coming from the US?

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106 Comments On "No, Israel Hasn’t Enacted A Quarantine On US Arrivals…Yet."

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KG

It’s a matter of hours or days

Reader

or months or years

Person

Haha great line

me

They should and will. Change your Pesach plans now or risk being upset later

Glushtygiz

Wud be v strange if they didnt do it

Michael L

I’ve got a flight back from Tel Aviv to Toronto next Sunday, wondering if there’s any benefit for me to come back any earlier? Driving to Detroit from Toronto

Likely retroactive

If at all

Israel is different

“Israel’s draconian quarantine measures haven’t been replicated by any other country.”

What other country has enemies surrounding it waiting to pounce at any sign of weakness?

Yossi

This is completely crazy
@dan what is your advice for your readers?

Adam

Fairly certain it’s true though it sounds like Bibi is considering “walking back” the decision. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-with-coronavirus-in-severe-condition-israel-may-quarantine-some-u-s-arrivals-1.8638322

Hjay

Thank you for real news as usual!!

Shaul Morrison

If they do enact the quarantine, they’ll be able to see if you flew out of JFK, LAX, IAD, or SFO. based on residence they’ll also be able to add in anyone who’s home address is in a state.

Geography

But they won’t be able to know if you visited any other state recently

Here\'s to hoping

Though most people are honest, and don’t really want to endanger others who are immunocompromised, especially older folks, cancer patients, pregnant women and newborns.

Nachum

Washington State, not Washington, DC.

Yisroel

Thanks for finally spreading the truth to 100,000 people. Us travel agents have been getting bombarded with calls the past couple of days regarding the fake news. Thank you Dan!

Yaakov

While there is no specific US quarantine, there is a general rule prohibiting anyone coming from abroad from attending a gathering of more than 100 people during the first two weeks in Israel. I’m assuming that includes Pesach programs.

100 or more

It does include hotels

NTorch

So what happens with kevurah in Israel? If they fly the body in to bury in Israel then the aveilim who accompany cannot attend the kevurah if there are more than 100 people there?

Shiva houses

Kevurahs likely limited to small-ish crowds. Shiva houses likely allowing only small numbers of folks to visit at a time. And noone who is ordered to quarantine. All in the name of pikuach nefesh.

Shmoogrr

So for now, until this is straightened out, people should refrain from Dying

Josh

That’s inaccurate – you can’t attend a gathering of 5k people in Israel. The gathering of 100 people regulation is if you’ve been to such a gathering within the previous 14 days then you have to self quarantine upon arrival in Israel. Check ministry’s website

Ministry web site is very clear

Huh? If you’ve been anywhere outside Israel, the 100+ rule applies

Yona

yes, even weddings are included in this rule. Any traveler, both Israel nationals and foreigners are to avoid gatherings of 100+ for the first 14 days.

Yona

The health ministry website states:
All international travelers in the last 14 days are to avoid attending any gatherings of more than 100 people.

MoG

I think they will quarantine everyone from usa and that’s ny, dc and la.
And yes, Israel is genius!

Not genius

This doesn’t really take genius. This is common sense. Better safe than sorry. Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Especially when there isn’t (yet) a cure (or vaccine).

Simcha

It’s not DC, it’s Washington State.

BrooklynDan

Is the Kosel considered a public gathering?

Kotel

Yes, it is. As are all 100+ shuls.

Duvie

Does anyone have anything factual of Israel’s self quarantine rules for someone healthy, uninfected, unexposed. Ie. Are they stuck in a room vs a house and backyard…. I am not looking for common sense, I’m looking for something factual in writing that they have provided as guidelines. Thanks

Facts

See Israel Health Ministry website

Carl M Sherer

No it’s not. They mean indoor gatherings.

YaakovD

Just to note, Israel completely denied entry for foreign citizens flying from certain countries, yet allowed entry from others but only under quarantine watch. It seems they will allow US citizens to enter, just may require them to quarantine themselves. Does politics play a role in what kind of entry is allowed? It seems so. If they deny entry to US citizens flying from NY that will be a bold move and they will only do that if necessary.

Yochai

What countries? AFAIK, from all countries that Israel requires Israelis to self quarantine, they are not allowing foreigners period.

Help!!

If they do start a quarantine on us will they allow people to leave or not until their 14 day period ends?

Ari K

As long as Trump is denying it’s a problem and overruling the CDC, Netanyahu will have a lot of trouble essentially shutting the country to tourists for Pesach/Easter from the US.

Sovereignty

Israel is a sovereign state. Netanyahu can do as he chooses.

Manta la fe

On a side note can I highly recommend listening to Rabbi Gordon’s daily Tanya lesson on Chabad.org especially during these interesting times. Thank you:)

Hillel

As a buchor with little understanding of economics, what is the “economic devastation” that would occur if everything is just put on hold for two weeks?

loveabargain

How much money do you think a hotel or restaurant would lose per day? They would still need to pay all their expenses and would have ZERO revenue.

Shuly

Israel has no economy to begin with they have a regime

Nachum

The economy shuts down.

Economics

It’s far longer than 2 weeks. And it won’t be devastation. Just a hiccup. A big one. But a hiccup.

Yona

The Time of Israel Posted.
An announcement planned for 7 p.m. is widely expected to include a decision on whether some US entries will be restricted.
Let us wait and see what they announce not worry about fake news.

Fake-ish news

This wasn’t fake news. It was Army Radio quoted prematurely.

Nachum

“Israel’s draconian quarantine measures haven’t been replicated by any other country.”

China shut down the whole country. Italy just shut down its whole northern part. Israel is small and doesn’t want to face a rush on limited hospital space.

Dave

Dan, have a flight to Los Angeles motzie shabbos. Should I be concerned and figure out if i can fly on a earlier flight? I’ve been here since the 4th. Please let me know your thoughts

Em

Hi dan i have a flight through turkish air from march 16 to 24 do u think i will have any problems going through turkey or into israel?

Em

??

Helen

Please explain this to me: in NYS close to 8.5k ppl got the flu last week and nobody is even talking about it. In the same time just 89 ppl got coronavirus which is considered a similar respiratory disease, and everyone is up in arms?!?! I don’t wish either disease on any person and agree with all basic precautions but this extreme panic is uncalled for IMHO.

Carl M Sherer

It’s definitely not fake news, Dan. Haaretz reported last night it was happening. This morning, Army Radio reported that they called it off because Netanyahu was afraid of offending Trump.

I returned to Israel from the US on Thursday myself. I was extremely cautious – I wiped down my entire seat area with Clorox wipes (armrests, tables, handles of the luggage bins – probably a good idea anyway). I changed planes in London. I had bulkhead/exit row aisle each flight. I tried to avoid contact with anyone, except with my neighbor (from Israel) who sat next to me on the second flight. When I landed in Israel, I took out another Clorox wipe and held it in my hand as I picked up each suitcase off the belt – which was a good idea since this morning it was reported that two BA baggage handlers in London have the virus. When my neighbor didn’t show up in shul at our minyan Shabbos morning, I called him to make sure he was okay, and we both laughed about it.

I did not visit any area in the US which Israel is considering restricting. As it turns out, someone with whom I spent a lot of time was at the AIPAC conference last week (for those who haven’t heard, two attendees at the AIPAC conference – likely from New Rochelle – have been diagnosed with the virus). But he says he feels fine. So I am continuing to be careful – washing my hands with soap constantly (my hands are badly chapped from it) and trying not to touch my face. I doubt most Israelis would be as careful as I am trying to be. Not in their nature. I have stopped using the communal towels in shul – most of my neighbors use them.

I am constantly asked why I am not in isolation….

I have another ticket to travel to the US in two weeks. It’s non-refundable as of now (the airlines are only offering refundable tickets to people who purchased after March 2, 4 or 5 depending on the airline). My current plan is to wait it out until a couple of days before and see what happens. If things stay as they are, I will probably not go because I don’t want to risk being in quarantine for Leil HaSeder (I am supposed to return the Thursday before Shabbos HaGadol).

I agree that Israel’s policy is a bit hysterical. The only people who think otherwise seem to be Israelis (including American olim). But then again, some of the reactions in the US also seem hysterical (runs on toilet paper?). At the end of the day, none of us control any situation other than our own. And HKB”H only gives us limited control on our own situations too.

Dan, any comments?

DR

Has anyone been in touch with Royal Jordanian? They have no refund/voucher policy in place and my brother is supposed to fly in on Thursday from Israel.

NTorch

From Arutz Sheva – http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/276989

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke by phone Sunday with US Vice President Mike Pence. The two agreed that follow-up talks would be held in the coming hours between the Israeli team on dealing with the Coronavirus and the American team, with the participation of White House Coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah L. Birx.

The talks will be held in order to advance technological and scientific cooperation on the issue of the Coronavirus and to discuss joint efforts in preventing the spread of the virus.

Earlier, Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu is pressuring the Health Ministry not to order domestic isolation for people returning from certain destinations in the United States. The Health Ministry intended to publish the directive tonight, but the prime minister was concerned the move would hurt relations with the United States and President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, following the spread of the Coronavirus in the Palestinian Authority, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan ordered the Prison Service to freeze all visits to Palestinian Arab security prisoners and prevent visitors from the PA from entering prison confines.

Erdan said that “preventing prison visits is a necessary step. Corona’s arrival in [Israeli] prisons could cause mass incarceration of prisoners with the disease and we must do our utmost to prevent such a scenario from materializing.”

yy

Iran temporarily freed 54,000 prisoners to prevent the spread of the virus in prison. Israel doesn’t want to be forced to do the same.

concerned

Will American bachurim be allowed in after pesach? I just read on an Israeli website that not

Rivkah

posted 8 minutes ago.
Netanyahu: No decision on quarantine for US flights
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel remains in control of the situation, and indicates there is no decision on banning travelers from the US or requiring them to self-quarantine.

He says discussions are ongoing regarding quarantine restrictions on travelers from anywhere, amid speculation that Israel would restrict travel from the US.

“This is not an easy decision. Health is first. It ensures the economy,” he says.

Yitz

While I get your point I dont agree with you. Thats like saying that if someone eats junk food all day and then decides to eat mostly healthy but only have a bit of cake that means the whole thing is a farce. Israel would love to ban the USA. But they just cant because they are too dependent on US traffic. So therefore they should let in everyone else? Whatever they can do let them do! Every country infected is a risk. So lets say Italy, they dont offer enough to Israel to be worth taking the risk. But a ban on the USA would be a death blow. Bari Vishema, Bari udif. Better maybe an issue from coronavirus than guaranteed from ban on US traffic. You hear what Im saying? And if the US spreads gd forbid then maybe IL will ban

Moshe

Why would it be a death blow? Actually Europe is a bigger trading partner than the US. We could definitely survive a month without US traffic. The problem is not the US but in general, our economy is already suffering, but Israel is one of the strongest economies worldwide with a very strong shekel (too strong, think many Israelis). In 2008 we were the only Western country not to be affected by the subprime crisis. I do not envy out government it is not an easy decision. But Israel of 2020 is not Israel of 1967, we can definitely survive such a crisis.

anon

We have a lot to learn from Israel, (in this and numerous other areas.) Wait and see whether you think their policies are draconian in a week from now. Hashem yishmor.

chaim

Thank you Dan for Keeping us updated!
There has been allot of chatter and panic about what is or is not going on regarding flights to Israel.
In my shul and in the office where I work, almost every time after all the discussion the facts end up boiling to what is posted here

az

MK Litzman just said on KAN Chadashot that the decision to basically close Israels doors will be made by tommorow. He indicated that its coming and explained why its the right move.

Shloimy

My sister left motzai Shabbos from NY with a direct flight and had no issues. No questions asked.

Hi

NOW THEY DID!!!!

Me

Just curious. How do they test someone for Corona virus?

Abe

I have a United flight TLV to EWR on Thursday, 3/12
Is there a reason to believe flight will be canceled?

Hmmm

Even Palestinians arent allowed in

Q

When do people going to Israel for pesach find out if they can go?

yiddy

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Monday night that it has been decided that all Israeli citizens returning from abroad must enter a 14-day isolation over fears of the Coronavirus. The new ruling applies no matter where in the world they return from.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/277054

Stash

Dan: The following ran on both The Times of Israel and JPOST. Did not check other sites. “All people entering Israel from abroad will be required to spend 14 days in home isolation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday. The measure became effective at 8 p.m. Monday night. “After a day of complex discussions, we have made a decision: Whoever arrives in Israel from abroad will enter quarantine for 14 days,” Netanyahu said in a video statement Monday…” Your report from March 8 was correct at that time; however, apparently outdated as of March 10.

To avoid confusion, suggest removing the March 8 article saying quarantine was fake news or clarifying which report is correct. I assume the current status is Israel will quarantine everyone wanting enter the country. Within a short period, Israel will most likely update their approach to controlling disease. Would be great to have a small box on the site keeping tract of the current policy.

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