(March 9, 2020 / JNS) Israel made the unprecedented move to require all incoming arrivals, including Israeli citizens, to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine as a result of the coronavirus.
“After a day of complex discussions, we made a decision: Everyone who comes to Israel from abroad will enter the 14-day isolation,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Monday as the country began quietly celebrating Purim. “This is a tough decision, but it is essential to maintain public health—and public health precedes everything.”
Israel also announced its 42nd diagnosed case of coronavirus.
Earlier on Monday, Netanyahu spoke via videoconference with seven European leaders in an effort to promote better regional coordination to fight the coronavirus.
Netanyahu told the E.U. leaders—Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades—that he hopes to have “home tests” similar to pregnancy and HIV that can help manage the crisis.
“When that happens, we can separate more effectively and more efficiently healthy people from sick people. This is good for health, and it’s very good for our economy because we’re going to run into serious problems of mass quarantines, and you can’t run economies that way. So we’re pooling our research people with their research people.”
Netanyahu also called for the creation of clean “safe air hubs” in Europe where leaders, technology experts and others can meet.
“We can designate airports for us—for all of us. And we say, this is a clean airport. We apply consistent efforts to keep it clean. We scrub it, we disinfect it, all the time—around the clock. And we also test the people who work there all the time,” Netanyahu told the European leaders.
On Sunday, Netanyahu spoke with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the coronavirus task force in America, where the two discussed ways to coordinate the countries’ responses.
“The talks will be held in order to advance technological and scientific cooperation on the issue of the coronavirus and to discuss joint ways of dealing with the challenges posed by the virus,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
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