Israel Quarantines 1,600 People

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is under increasing pressure to declare the situation with the new coronavirus a pandemic. Yet its leaders seem to be clinging to the hope that the virus can be contained.

Head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said:

“We are in a fight that can be won if we do the right things.”

But he also said that the WHO would not hesitate to declare a pandemic if it became an accurate description of the situation, claiming:

“I am not downplaying the seriousness of the situation,
or the potential for this to become a pandemic, because it has that potential.
All countries, whether they have cases or not, must prepare for a potential pandemic.”

Israel is one of the countries taking the threat seriously, with 1,600 Israelis currently in quarantine for coronavirus across the country.

Its Health Ministry requires any Israeli returning from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand or Macau to spend 14 days in isolation either at home or in a medical facility.

Paramedics getting ready for a Korean Air flight from Seoul Paramedics get ready for a Korean Air flight from Seoul (photo: Magen David Adom)

The same requirement now applies to anyone in Israel who was in contact with a group of Christian pilgrims from South Korea whose members tested positive for the virus after they returned home from a recent trip to Israel.

As many as 18 of the South Korean group were diagnosed with the coronavirus, causing some extremists to accuse the group of trying to infect Israelis with both the coronavirus and Christianity!

It is not known whether they contracted the virus before, during or after their visit to Israel. So the Ministry of Health has instructed all who were in contact with the group to go into quarantine. That includes 200 students and teachers in Beersheba.

Subsequent precautionary measures by the Israelis include turning back a flight from South Korea on Saturday 22nd February and, from Monday, banning all foreign citizens who have been to South Korea and Japan in the past 14 days.