Coronavirus tally in Israel hits 50, as 8 more cases confirmed

Health Ministry says 4 of the patients were infected by people in the country who were carrying the virus, including 3 from the same woman

Illustrative: An ambulance carrying a patient displaying symptoms of the coronavirus, as the vehicle arrives at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer on February 28, 2020. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Illustrative: An ambulance carrying a patient displaying symptoms of the coronavirus, as the vehicle arrives at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer on February 28, 2020. (Jack Guez/AFP)

The Health Ministry on Monday announced eight more Israelis tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 50.

Four of the patients were infected from close contact with people confirmed to have the virus, including three from the same woman in central Israel.

The other patient to contract the virus from someone confirmed to have it was a 60-year-old woman in Jerusalem.

Also diagnosed was a 40-year-old woman from the center of the country who was in France, which has the fifth most confirmed cases of any nation in the world.

The woman departed for Paris on February 27 at 9 a.m. on El Al flight LY323 and returned on March 5 on El Al flight LY324 at 3:45 p.m.

The other three Israelis had been in Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands. There have been nearly 1,000 cases in Spain, the seventh most of any country. Several Israelis confirmed to have the virus had been vacationing in Tenerife.

One of these Israelis flew to Tenerife on February 24, while the flight of the other two was a day later. Two of them returned to Israel on March 3 and one on March 4.

A man walks past a screen displaying arriving flights at Ben Gurion Airport on March 4, 2020. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP)

The ministry said one of these patients, a woman from Haifa, went to a theater in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Haim on March 4 between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. before she went into quarantine. The requirement for Israelis returning from France to enter quarantine was announced later that day.

Another patient, who is in moderate condition, took a train from the airport to Herzliya and from there to the Hof Hacarmel train station on March 4 at 10:30 p.m., after arriving from Spain.

According to the Health Ministry, one of the patients who arrived on March 3 was at the Las Vegas hotel in Tenerife, along with nine other groups of Israelis.

Any Israelis who were on any of these flights or at these locations during these times were instructed to quarantine at home and report this to the Health Ministry.

The ministry had announced three more cases earlier Monday.

So far, there has only been one case in Israel of the virus being detected in a patient who had not been abroad or knowingly come into contact with any other infected person.

A woman wearing a protective mask arrives in Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel, February 27, 2020. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

As part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus, Israel said Monday that all Israelis returning to the country from overseas would be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, beginning immediately.

Non-Israeli citizens will be allowed into the country for another 72 hours. But after that, they will be barred completely, unless they can demonstrate that they have a place to quarantine here for 14 days. Those already here will also have to leave, though it is unclear when.

Authorities have for weeks ordered measures to clamp down on foreign entries and force home-quarantines that have been seen by some as draconian and diplomatically harmful, but officials have defended them as helping keep the virus at bay. Some 22,000 Israelis are already in quarantine, the Health Ministry said Monday morning.

According to World Health Organization figures, there have been over 110,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide and more than 3,800 deaths.

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