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Israel turns away South Korean tourists, brings Israelis home with special ambulances

Twelve Israeli tourists arrived from South Korea Saturday night, and the Health Ministry has ordered them to self-quarantine themselves at home.

The others on the Korean Air flight have been sent back to Seoul, where the flight originated.

On Saturday, South Korean officials confirmed that 229 new cases were diagnosed since Friday, bringing the total number in the country to 433. So far, two people have died in the country.

To prevent the Israelis from infecting others on their way home, they have been transported by Magen David Adom (MDA) staff, who have taken precautions including special suits, masks, hats, and glasses, according to the customary protocol. After the travelers have been returned home, the vehicles in which they traveled will be disinfected using a special system.

Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov on Saturday evening held a meeting to discuss the exposures in Israel due to a group of South Korean tourists, nine of whom came down with the virus after returning to South Korea…

“Those who came in contact with these people need to quarantine themselves at home. That’s an order, not a request. If we do not keep these guidelines, the disease will spread widely throughout Israel. We estimate that there is potential for the group to have infected others,” he said.

He also noted that the Health Ministry has decided to add Japan and South Korea to the list of countries from which travelers must quarantine themselves for a period of 14 days.

On Saturday, Israel’s Health Ministry confirmed that nine South Koreans, who returned recently from visiting Israel, have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Education Ministry has announced that thirty students and two teachers from the Makif Tuviyahu school in Be’er Sheva spent time with the infected South Koreans.

All thirty-two have been ordered to quarantine themselves at home between Sunday and Thursday. An additional teacher is undergoing testing in Be’er Sheva’s Soroka Medical Center.

In a Facebook post, Israel’s Health Ministry listed the times and places of exposure, but added that additional times and locations may be added. COVID-19 may remain on surfaces for up to 48 hours.