Hours before a decision about whether or not Israel will require any citizen or non-citizen entering the country from abroad to adhere to 14 days of isolation, Health Minster Ya’acov Litzman told Israel’s radio 103 FM that America would be supportive of whatever decision the country makes.
“I was present when the prime minister spoke with Vice President Mike Pence, and there was no argument: They agreed on everything,” Litzman said. “This is not a question of America or not of America.”
When asked directly: “Is there any chance that in the coming day you will issue a directive that all people from the US are obliged to enter two weeks of isolation?” the health minister replied, “The answer is certainly yes. There is no desire at this point to go state by state – if we do this, we will quarantine everyone.”
He said there are many countries that Israel is discussing and that a team of officials stayed up deliberating the subject through the night. Litzman said that there would likely be a ministerial committee set up to finalize any decision, which would make it “more valid.”
Late last night, more than a dozen new patients were diagnosed in Israel, bringing the total number of Israelis with coronavirus to 39. In addition, an Israeli embassy staffer in Greece has been diagnosed with the virus, as well as at least 19 Palestinians.
The Health Ministry has repeatedly stated that most of its operations are designed to detect the infection chain and thus prevent the spread of the virus, as well as to ease the burden on hospitals.
“We have investigated every case and there are investigations on investigations,” Litzman explained.
However, Israel's 29th case of the novel coronavirus became the country's first reported case with an "unknown" origin on Sunday. The fact that the source of infection is unknown makes connecting and keeping track of cases and preventing new infections much more difficult.
Litzman said he still does not have any data on that infection but is hopeful that the professionals will be able to determine more in the coming days.
He expressed that the virus continues in many ways to remain an anomaly and therefore he does not envision any major reduction in restrictions on the public. Still, he said the country’s health professionals are doing “a wonderful job.”