Travelers From East Asia Told to Self-Quarantine

Israeli Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman talks to the media ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting in Yerushalayim, Sunday. (Gali Tibbon/Pool via Reuters)

In the latest precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus, the Israeli Health Ministry announced on Sunday that travelers returning from four destinations in East Asia should go into self-quarantine for two weeks, The Times of Israel reported.

The destinations named were: Thailand, Singapore and the semi-autonomous Chinese cities of Hong Kong and Macau.

“Starting today, whoever returned from these countries will be in isolation at home until 14 days from the date of return,” the ministry said in a statement.

The new measure extends the already existing self-quarantine guideline for people coming from China.

Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman stressed that the self-quarantine is more than a polite request. He told Army Radio on Sunday that the ministry will be checking on people who have been designated for quarantine.

“We decided to make a surprise visit to see if people are carrying out their home isolation,” Rabbi Litzman said.

A shofar is blown by a man standing next o Chief Rabbi of Tzfas Shmuel Eliyahu at special prayer gathering to stop the Coronavirus epidemic, at the Kosel on Sunday. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Meanwhile, Chief Rabbi of Tzefas, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, called on Jews to come to the Kosel to daven for people who have been stricken with the life-threatening virus.

Several hundred people attended a prayer rally at the Kosel late Sunday afternoon. Rabbi Eliyahu was joined by Rabbi Uri Sherki, chairman of the Brit Olam – Noahide World Center; Rabbi Avi Berman, chief of the Orthodox Union’s Israel branch; Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu, chairman of the Assocation of Community Rabbis; Chabad emissaries from China; officials from the Chinese embassy in Israel, and dozens of Chinese citizens, Arutz Sheva reported.

In addition to Mincha and Maariv, there was a special prayer on behalf of the people of China, a prayer read in Chinese, and the blowing of a shofar.

“The Chinese people need to know that they are in the hearts of the Jewish people, which is praying for them and is hoping for their success and wellbeing. When there is this kind of love in the world, G-d opens the gates of prayer and accepts our prayers. May it be His will that our prayers be answered, and that this epidemic among the Chinese people and across the world be stopped,” Rabbi Eliyahu said.

“About each and every one of them, it was said ‘Beloved is man, for he was created in the image [of G-d]’ (Avos, 3:14),” he wrote. “We are called upon to pray for the people of China … [and] for all the sick in other countries as well.

“May Hashem hear our prayer and make true through us the verse ‘In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed’ (Bereishis 28:14).”

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