Strict measures taken by the health officials in Israel against anyone who may be at risk of contracting coronavirus haven’t passed by Israeli celebrities, including sports stars, politicians and even Gilad Shalit, former IDF soldier held captive by Hamas.
The Health Ministry on Wednesday released new guidelines to contain the spread of the new virus, announcing that Israelis arriving from France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Spain must enter a two-week period of quarantine.
Shalit made news on Wednesday evening when it emerged that he recently returned from a trip to Austria and will have to immediately self-quarantine for two days.
The former soldier became a national figure in the summer of 2006, when he was kidnapped by Hamas on the Gaza Strip border. He was held captive in the enclave for five years and four months.
In addition, Eurovision winner and international star Netta Barzilai who returned from Spain is also required to stay in quarantine.
Israeli television star Guy Pines, who last week tried to bring down the level of hysteria while on his way to Germany, is now also required to enter quarantine.
"I'm heading to a destination that isn't considered 'contaminated,' or else I would have not traveled, I keep an eye on these sorts of things. I'm not panicking, and I don't think other people should either," he said last Thursday.
Avi Nir, Keshet Media Group's CEO and his wife, Shari Arison, Israel’s wealthiest business woman, both also recently returned from the countries with travel advisory and in need of self-quarantine.
The stars of Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv, who recently travelled all across Europe for games, have also been asked by the Health Ministry to enter self-quarantine.
Health officials initially appeared to have turned a blind eye to the team's activities, allowing them to continue playing matches in Israel upon their return from Europe. But after mass public pressure, the Health Ministry said Thursday that it would “take measures” against anyone who does not obey the isolation order.
"The Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team has not been excluded from the directive … Violation of the order constitutes a violation of the law,” said the Health Ministry in a statement.
When it comes of politics, Blue & White MK Yoaz Hendel who last week returned from Austria, where he took part in a conference on anti-Semitism, has also entered a self-quarantine at his home in Modshav Nes Harim in central Israel.
Finally, the head of the IDF Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several days ago, after the officer's return from Italy but before he began the 14-day home coronavirus quarantine now required by the Health Ministry for people who have visited the European country.
The Prime Minister's Office said that Netanyahu "was some distance" from him Haliva during the meeting.
The PMO added: "The prime minister regularly shakes hands at the start of a meeting. According to Health Ministry directives, someone in proximity to someone who needs to be quarantined does not have to enter quarantine themselves."