Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

Location:  Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza

Event:  There is an ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) first identified in Wuhan, China.  The global public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, with more than 80,000 reported cases worldwide.

On March 5, 2020, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health announced seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the West Bank city of Bethlehem and its surrounding suburbs.  The Government of Israel estimates it may be as high as 14 cases.

The Palestinian Authority implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Anyone who has been in any of the following countries over the prior 14 days will be quarantined in a Palestinian Authority-designated facility for 14 days after arrival:  China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Japan, Singapore Thailand, Iran and Italy.  Anyone who has been in any of the following countries and territories over the prior 14 days will be required to remain in self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival:  Taiwan, Malaysia, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Iraq, Austria, Germany, Switzerland.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Visit the website of the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health (available only in Arabic) for additional information on these new measures:

The Palestinian Authority announced a state of emergency for 30 days, effective March 5, 2020.  All tourist and religious sites as well as schools and universities have been closed for 14 days but may remain closed for 30 days, effective March 6, 2020.  The Palestinian Authority has implemented quarantines in Bethlehem and its surrounding suburbs.  Transportation to or from these areas, and public services including schools and government offices, are closed.  Private companies – including hotels, apartment buildings, or supermarkets – have closed, restricted access, or mandated temperature checks, limiting access to goods and services.

In Gaza, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date. As of March 6, 2020, the de facto authority in Gaza may request anyone entering Gaza who has been to a country of concern within the previous 14 days to either self-quarantine or enter a quarantine facility for 14 days.  The countries of concern may include, but may not be limited to, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Iran.

Actions to Take: