First Confirmed Case in Israel: Man Who Returned From Italy Diagnosed With Coronavirus

YERUSHALAYIM -
An Israeli man (unseen) who returned from Italy and tested positive for coronavirus arrives at Tel Hashomer Hospital, Thursday. (Flash90)

The Health Ministry said Thursday that an Israeli man who returned from Italy has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

At a press conference Thursday, Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman-Tov said that a man who had returned from Italy four days ago was examined after feeling unwell and diagnosed with coronavirus.

He will be transferred to an isolation facility established at Tel Hashomer Hospital.

Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri announced earlier on Thursday that he intends to sign a ban on foreigners from Italy entering Israel.

At the same time, the order stipulates that Israelis who come from Italy to Israel will enter a two-week isolation, similar to the practice for those returning from East Asian countries.

“We’re very disturbed by what’s happening in Italy and in Iran,” Bar Siman-Tov said.

He said that a quarantine order for travelers returning from Italy might be ineffective, because anyone who wished to avoid the quarantine could “take a train to a neighboring country, and fly to Israel from there.”

On Thursday, Italy reported another 100 cases nationwide, taking the total in Europe’s biggest hot spot to more than 400, while its death toll rose to 12.

Meanwhile, El Al announced that it is suspending all flights to Italy and Thailand due to the spread of the coronavirus in those countries. El Al also announced that it will delay the launch of direct flights to Tokyo until April. The direct line was scheduled to have launched on March 11.

Additionally, El Al held up the recommencement of flights to Beijing and Hong Kong until May.