Israeli With Coronavirus in Severe Condition; Israel May Quarantine Some U.S. Arrivals

As the novel coronavirus continues to rattle the world, Israel and the Palestinian Authority are grappling with containing the outbreak.

■ 25 Israelis have so far tested positive for coronavirus, known as COVID-19; thousands have been placed in isolation; Israeli man from East Jerusalem's condition worsens

■ All travelers returning to Israel from Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland and Austria are ordered to go into a 14-day quarantine, effective immediately as Israel mulls extending confinement to some U.S. flights

■ Palestinian Authority bars all foreign tourists for two weeks, closes Bethlehem churches and mosques with 19 confimed cases of virus

>> Tracking the global spread of novel coronavirus


12:20 A.M. Birthright stop all trips to Israel over COVID-19 outbreak

In wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Taglit-Birthright is canceling all its upcoming trips to Israel that are still scheduled for the winter season. This is the first time in its 20-year history that the organization, which provides free 10-day trips to Israel for young Jewish adults, has terminated trips.

According to a spokesperson for Birthright, the cancellations will affect 500 participants who had signed up for trips from the United States, Germany, and the former Soviet bloc countries. Birthright’s winter season runs from the start of December until late March. (Judy Maltz)

11:38 A.M. Thirteen U.S. nationals quarantined in Bethlehem hotel

Thirteen Americans suspected of being exposed to coronavirus during a trip to the Holy Land are in quarantine near Bethlehem and are coordinating with U.S. and Palestinian authorities to try to get home. (Reuters)

10:45 A.M. Finance minister calls to allow employees to work from home

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon called on employers to allow their employees to work from home to minimize the damage to Israel's economy from the coronavirus. 

"The Finance Ministry is holding ongoing situation assessments together with the prime minister, the Health Ministry and the National Security Council, and we'll respond on a case-by-case basis. Israel's economy is strong and stable," Kahlon said. (TheMarker) 

10:26 A.M. Israeli stock market opens with 5 percent drop amid coronavirus panic