The number of coronavirus cases in Israel currently stands at 15, the country’s Health Ministry confirmed on Tuesday.

The patients are experiencing mild symptoms only and are under quarantine, the ministry said in a statement.

More than 5,500 Israelis have now been quarantined amid concerns about the global spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its associated disease, COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).

Israel has taken far-reaching steps to prevent an outbreak, restricting the entry of foreigners who had recently visited China, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Italy. Officials are also compelling all Israelis who have recently traveled to these countries to go into quarantine for 14 days.

In a dramatic step, the ministry has also issued a travel advisory urging Israelis to consider refraining from traveling abroad. A ministry official said a directive was in the works according to which all Israelis returning from overseas exhibiting suspicious symptoms would have to be tested, no matter what country they were visiting.

On Tuesday evening, Israel Defense Forces’ Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman confirmed that IDF Operations Directorate head Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliwa, who recently returned from a vacation in Italy, has also been ordered into self-quarantine.

According to the latest update from the World Health Organization, some 91,700 people worldwide have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, which has so far claimed 3,100 lives.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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