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As a result of the continued spread of coronavirus, Israel’s Health Ministry has released a statement asking citizens not to travel internationally unless it is necessary:
“The Ministry of Health assesses that it is highly likely that the coronavirus has spread to many other places in Europe and all over the world. Therefore the Ministry of Health advises the general public to consider all nonessential travel, regardless whether a certain destination is specified in the Home Quarantine Decree.
The public is advised to avoid travel to international conferences, conventions or any other congregate settings, including travel to religious events, where foreign nationals assemble.”
The Times of Israel quotes a statement from the ministry that is even starker:
“If you don’t genuinely have to fly — don’t do so”
So far, Israel has been relatively unaffected by coronavirus, which makes the advice particularly noteworthy. Once one country starts issuing this sort of advice, the pressure on other governments to do likewise increases substantially.
A spokesperson for Israel’s national airline El Al has described the situation as a “catastrophe” and believes the airline could potentially collapse “within weeks”. It is fair to assume that other airlines around the globe will also be deeply concerned at the move and will be lobbying their own governments to resist similar statements.
Travel is undoubtedly going to become more challenging in the coming days and weeks. The risk of getting caught up in a quarantine or being refused entry to a country because of your recent travel history is something that everyone should now consider, even if you think your risk from the virus itself is limited.