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Coronavirus: Netanyahu orders quarantine for anyone coming into Israel

Foreigners coming to Israel will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days if they have the means
Israeli media said the measure would mean quarantine for some 300,000 citizens in a country of around 9 million (Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an order on Monday that requires all citizens returning from abroad to go into self-quarantine because of the coronavirus spreading across the globe.

Netanyahu said the new measures will come into effect on Thursday, while Reuters reported that foreigners will only be admitted if they can prove they have the means to self-quarantine.

"After a day of complex discussions, we made a decision: Everyone who comes to Israel from abroad will enter the 14-day isolation," Netanyahu said in a statement.

"This is a tough decision, but it is essential to maintain public health - and public health precedes everything."

Israel had already taken some of the most extreme precautions to prevent a local coronavirus outbreak, forcing visitors from many countries in Asia and Europe into home isolation. This had made travel and trade difficult, with tourism expected to suffer.

Israeli media said the measure would mean quarantine for some 300,000 citizens in a country of around 9 million. 

Coronavirus cases in West Bank

The Palestinian Authority (PA) confirmed on Monday five more coronavirus cases in the occupied West Bank. 

A PA spokesperson said that that the number of people infected with the coronavirus rose to 25 people - 24 of whom are in Bethlehem, and one in Tulkarem.

Last week, the PA declared a two-week ban on tourists visiting cities and sites including Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity and closed schools in Bethlehem for 14 days. 

The PA health ministry said a hotel in Bethlehem was quarantined due to a number of suspected cases.