Israel recommends citizens not travel abroad as coronavirus precaution

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel urged its citizens on Wednesday to reconsider foreign travel, citing the growing spread of the coronavirus outside the country.

Two Israelis who returned home after being quarantined in Japan on the Diamond Princess cruise ship are the only confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel, and the ministry has readied quarantine facilities should more infections occur.

In a statement, the Israeli Health Ministry announced that Israelis returning from Italy, where the contagion has worsened, would be required to go into quarantine at home for two weeks.

Expanding its precautionary steps, the ministry said it was also now urging the public “to reconsider the necessity of flights abroad in general, beyond the required isolation upon return from specific countries.”

“The assessment is that there is a high probability the disease has already spread to other regions of Europe and many other places in the world,” it said.

The ministry had already instructed Israelis returning from Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea to go into isolation at home for 14 days.

Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Chizu Nomiyama