Health Ministry Labels All Countries ‘Red’; All Travelers Will Require Quarantine

The empty departure halls of Ben Gurion International Airport. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

All countries are to be designated as red destinations in order to combat the recent spike in coronavirus morbidity rates, the Health Ministry confirmed on Motzoei Shabbos.

The significance of the new directive is that Israelis returning from abroad will need to enter quarantine for 14 days. Alternatively, they may choose to be tested upon return to Israel, and again, nine days later. If both tests are negative, quarantine will be shortened to 10 days.

Israelis currently visiting countries that had previously been labeled as green will be given an extra week, until December 26, to return to Israel without any isolation requirement.

For several weeks, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of public health, has been pushing for such a move. She has said that in countries like the UAE, where Israelis are flocking to in the tens of thousands, guidelines are not being followed and they are becoming infected there and bringing the virus back to Israel.

The Coronavirus Cabinet is expected to meet on Sunday to discuss additional restrictions on other parts of the country.

The Health Ministry had been considering requiring travelers from certain countries to agree to be tested, or otherwise quarantine in a state-run coronavirus hotel. With all countries being designated red, it is unlikely that additional restrictions will be added.

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