Thailand unhappy with Israel's entry ban over virus concerns

Country's ambassador i­n Tel Aviv asks Israeli government to rethink its policy of refusing entry to anyone arriving from 4 East Asian countries, saying the decision would hurt Thai workers employed in Israel, tourism

Associated Press|
Thailand's government is scrambling to cope with new travel restrictions after Israel banned the citizens of Thailand and three other Asian countries and territories from entering over concerns about a new virus.
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  • Israel on Monday announced it was refusing entry to all foreign nationals who traveled to Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau during the past 14 days. Israeli citizens and residents will be isolated at home for 14 days after their return from areas at risk.
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    נתב"ג הבוקר
    נתב"ג הבוקר
    Thai citizens held up at Ben Gurion Airport due to new strict guidelines
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi )
    Israel has so far confirmed no cases of COVID-19 infections inside the country.
    Thai Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Natapanu Nopakun said the country's ambassador i­n Tel Aviv had asked Israel to review its decision to ban Thais.
    "We believe that Israel will reconsider the decision as Thailand isn't the only country affected from the announcement," he said.
    Israel had already in late January imposed a similar ban on foreign nationals entering from China.
    The latest ban could inconvenience business travelers from Singapore, which like Israel is a major hub for high-tech projects.
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    שגריר ישראל בבנגקוק מאיר שלמה
    שגריר ישראל בבנגקוק מאיר שלמה
    Israeli ambassador to Thailand
    (Photo: The Foreign Ministry )
    The consequences for Thailand could be more substantial. About 25,000 Thai workers are employed in Israel, mostly in the agricultural sector. In many cases they are the main breadwinners for their families in Thailand's economically disadvantaged northeast.
    Separately, the Consular Affairs Department of Thailand's Foreign Ministry urged Thais "who don't have a need to live in China to consider traveling out of China while airlines still operate, and to refrain from traveling to China if it isn't necessary at the moment."
    The statement didn't apply to Hong Kong. The ministry said it was a normal travel advisory and did not amount to any order or instruction.
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