Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-28-2020

News Update

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The Health Ministry confirmed that an Israeli who returned from Italy on Sunday tested positive for the coronavirus. His wife, who did not travel to Italy, has also tested positive. Both have been moved to the dedicated quarantine area at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv and the entire family has been quarantined at home. Anyone who was in close proximity to the two has been told to self quarantine for 14 days. The man’s son attended school in central Israel for several days before the father tested positive for the coronavirus.

Earlier this week the ministry added Italy to its travel ban. Yesterday Israeli officials refused to allow 25 Italian passengers on a Ryanair flight from Bergamo, Italy, to enter the country.

But the many Israeli citizens returning from Italy on Thursday were allowed to return home on their own to self quarantine, without any Health Ministry examination or transportation. They were allowed to walk freely through Ben Gurion airport, where non of the airport personal were wearing masks. Some of these potentially infected passengers had to make their way back to their homes on their own, using public transportation.

150 IDF soldiers are under house quarantine due to concerns that they contracted coronavirus after returning from a private trip abroad, or by meeting with the South Korean delegation which was later found to be infected with the virus. Another 300 soldiers who recently spent time in Italy will also be immediately quarantined.

El Al’s CEO has ordered the company’s human resource director to prepare a plan to lay off 1,000 of the company’s 6,300 employees. El Al earlier reported to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that damage from the coronavirus was liable to total $70 million in lost revenue in January-April. The estimate was given before the company was forced to halt all flights to Italy.

Israeli researchers at the Galilee Research Institute claim they have developed a vaccine against the coronavirus for poultry and are only three months away from testing a vaccine on humans. An American company has also submitted a vaccine to the USFDA for testing.

IDF jets intercepted a drone dispatched from Gaza yesterday. The drone was shot down over the Mediterranean, 8 miles off the Gaza coast.

Syrian media is reporting that an Israeli drone fired a missile at a car in southern Syria, near the Golan Heights, killing one person. According to the some reports the fatality was identified as Emad al-Tawil, who was involved in the Iranian entrenchment in the area. There was no comment from Israel.

With Israeli elections only 3 days away, the latest poll shows Likud leading Blue and White by 35 to 34 seats. The right-wing block would get 58 seats versus 56 for the center-left. But both blocks would still be short of the 61 seats required to form a government.