נוסעים חוזרים מ סין
Travelers from China arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport
Photo: Avi Mandelbaum
Travelers from China arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport

Health Minister: Israel treating coronavirus with 'utmost severity'

As last two planes arrive at Ben-Gurion from China, Yaakov Litzman downplays report that there is no inspection process for virus at country's main international hub; Netanyahu warns it is 'impossible to completely prevent' entry of the disease into the country

Ynet |
Published: 02.02.20 , 12:25
Israel is treating the outbreak of the coronavirus "with the utmost severity," Health Minister Yaakov Litzman told Ynet on Sunday.
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  • Litzman played down a report in Ynet's sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth that there was no policy in place for checking for the virus at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
    נוסעים חוזרים מ סין נוסעים חוזרים מ סין
    Travelers from China arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport
    (Photo: Avi Mandelbaum)
    The minister said that while Israel demands two weeks of quarantine for suspected virus sufferers, unlike other countries, patients were allowed to pass this period in their own homes and not in a medical facility.
    "There will be oversight [at the airport], but it is not certain that we will announce how this will be carried out," said Litzman.
    "We will find a way to reinforce this," he added.

    יעקב ליצמן ראיון אולפן יעקב ליצמן ראיון אולפן
    Health Minister Yaakov Litzman talks to Ynet
    (Photo: Alex Gamburg)
    Meanwhile, dozens of Israelis returned to Israel on Sunday on the last two flights from Beijing allowed to land at Ben-Gurion until further notice. Also on the the flights were staff at the Chinese embassy in Tel Aviv who were granted entry into the country on condition that they underwent the two-week quarantine period.
    Israel has suspended all direct flights to China due to the virus outbreak.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Saturday that it would be “impossible to completely prevent" the entry of the coronavirus into the country.
    “We are not taking any unnecessary chances,” Netanyahu said.
    נוסעים חוזרים מ סין נוסעים חוזרים מ סין
    Travelers from China arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport
    (Photo: Avi Mandelbaum)
    “The virus is already found on five continents and in more than 25 countries. We are aware of the fact that it will be impossible to completely prevent the entry of the virus; therefore, we will be prepared in advance to deal with the virus after its first entry to Israel,” he said.
    A statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office said: “The State of Israel has already taken preventive measures and was among the first countries that decided to restrict flights and land entry for those coming from China.”
    Netanyahu was also set to convene Sunday with ministers and the relevant staff officials to further discuss the issue, the statement said.
    i24NEWS contributed to this report

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