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Israel bans foreigners coming from East Asian countries over virus fears

Following the recommendation of the Health Ministry and Health Minister Yaacov Litzman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, an order was issued Monday to prevent entry of people who have stayed in Macau, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong for the past two weeks and who are not citizens or residents of Israel in order to prevent people who have contracted the Coronavirus from entering the country,

This follows the ban on people entering Israel from China.

Until now, travelers coming from Thailand, Singapore, and the semi-autonomous Chinese cities of Hong Kong and Macau had to quarantine themselves for 14 days, under Health Ministry directives issued on Sunday.

At the same time, the Foreign Ministry has been outraged by the Health Ministry’s treatment of Coronavirus on the international level. At the request of the Health Ministry, the Foreign Ministry submitted an opinion that the current restrictions on Asian countries due to the Coronavirus would cause diplomatic damage. The Health Ministry ignored the recommendation, sparking fears that Asian countries will respond to Israel diplomatically.

The Kan public broadcaster and Channel 12 quoted unnamed officials as fearing “revenge” steps by East Asian countries, given the extreme measures — more than those announced by any other country — that Israel has taken to protect against the virus entering the country.

Foreign Ministry officials are said to fear that those countries will now issue more frequent travel warnings about Israel after terror attacks, or that they will lower their degree of economic cooperation.