Israel’s Health Ministry denied reports that it is considering quarantining Americans tourists to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
A spokesperson for the Health Ministry told The Jerusalem Post that the idea is “not currently on the agenda.”
On Tuesday, Dr. Tal Brosh — who is part of a committee that is monitoring the coronavirus — said in a radio interview that the idea of quarantining American tourists for 14 days was “under discussion.”
“I would recommend it, but let’s complete the discussions first,” he added.
Brosh noted that the United States has reported dozens of cases of coronavirus, with several deaths, and added that it’s likely that there are many more cases that have not yet been discovered.
“We know that there are places that have more people who are carrying the virus than they really know,” he said, adding, “This is not just in the United States, but [also in] other places.”
If Israel imposed a quarantine on Americans, it could have a negative impact on its economy, as its tourist season ramps up in the spring and summer, if Americans have a hard time getting into the country.
Such a step would not be entirely unprecedented. In late February, Israel announced that it was requiring Israelis returning from Italy to quarantine themselves for 14 days. Israel has also banned the entry of visitors from several Asian and European countries facing outbreaks of the virus.
Israel’s Health Ministry previously warned its citizens against international travel due to the coronavirus, “If you don’t genuinely have to fly — don’t do so,” it said in a statement.
Currently, Israel has reported 15 cases of the coronavirus, and thousands of Israelis are under quarantine.