How did Israelis catch coronavirus?

40% of imported cases of coronavirus came from North America

The empty Ben Gurion airport, as most flights have been cencelled in order to prevent the spreading of the Coronavirus. April 06, 2020.  (photo credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90)
The empty Ben Gurion airport, as most flights have been cencelled in order to prevent the spreading of the Coronavirus. April 06, 2020.
(photo credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90)
There are three main ways that Israelis got sick with SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry reported on Tuesday: contact with another infected person (49%), exposure abroad (19%) or visiting a public place (15%).
Strikingly, Israelis brought the virus back to Israel from 67 different countries. However, most Israelis who tested positive for coronavirus after returning from abroad contracted the disease in North America or Europe, the Health Ministry said.
Some 83% of imported cases of the novel virus came from these two continents - 43% from Europe and 40% from North America.
Overall, of the 573 patients who brought COVID-19 from North America, 99.3% of those were infected in the United States, opening the door to critics who say the figures reflect that it took the government too long to start imposing restrictions on travel into Israel from the US, especially from New York, which is the hardest-hit US state.
Only four people brought the virus from Canada.
Around 10% of Israelis who tested positive for coronavirus after returning from abroad traveled in South America. The rest came from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Australia, New Zealand or the island of Fiji.
 

As the number of flights into Israel was reduced, so too was the number of infections from abroad: On March 9 at 8 p.m., anyone who came from abroad was instructed to go into isolation for 14 days. Three days later, foreigners who could not prove they had a place to quarantine (and they could not isolate in a hotel) were denied entry into Israel. Then, on March 18, entry to Israel was completely prevented for anyone who is not a resident or citizen.
The Health Ministry reported that days after these rules were put into effect, there was a spike in the number of cases from abroad, which then lessened. The ministry analyzes that had these flight restrictions not been implemented, the number of infections brought into Israel from abroad would have continued to increase week after week.
At the same time, there was an increase in the number of infections from local means, mainly contact with a known sick person or from communal places, such as from synagogues, grocery stores, medical centers, pharmacies, banks and public transportation.
About 10 days after Purim on March 10, there was a significant increase in the total number of coronavirus patients.
“At least part of this dramatic increase can be attributed to Purim holiday events,” the ministry said in its report.
The cause of infection also varies among age groups, likely due to their different behavioral patterns, although in all age groups the number one way that people became infected was by being in contact with a known sick person. This is especially the case for those over the age of 80, in which 73% caught the virus directly from someone else. The ministry analyzes that this age group travels less and spends less time in crowded public spaces than those younger than them.
People between the ages of 20 to 79 were more likely than others to bring the virus from abroad. About 32% of people ages 20-29 were infected while traveling, for example, compared to 9% of those over the age of 80.


Tags Israelis