Israel's Ministry of Health last night called on all members of the public to consider whether any planned overseas travel is really necessary due to the danger of contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus, which is now spreading throughout Europe. In particular, the Ministry of Health has asked Israelis to avoid overseas conferences, and other international events involving large crowds, and to abstain from holding international conferences in Israel.
At the same time the Israeli government has issued a travel warning on Italy due to the outbreak of the virus there and asked Israelis returning from Italy to impose a 14-day self-quarantine on themselves.
Covid-19 is close to a tipping stage as more and more countries report cases of the virus. Yesterday, for the first time, more new cases of the virus were reported outside of China, where it began, than inside.
No cases of the virus have yet been contracted in Israel although two of the returnees from the cruise ship Diamond Princess were found to be infected with the disease but had already been placed in quarantine and are now on the road to recovery.
The latest Ministry of Health statement and the spread of the virus to Europe will be a major blow to Israel's airlines already reeling from the suspension of flights to East Asia. Incoming tourism will also be hit hard as people worldwide are reluctant to travel but many Israeli hotels could profit from Israelis taking vacations at home rather than abroad.
A meeting of Israel's top economic leaders earlier this week led by Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon estimated that the implications of the virus could cut Israel's 2020 economic growth by up to 1%.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 27, 2020
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