Israel may quarantine 200 South Korean visitors in army base: report

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a situation assessment meeting with Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (R) regarding the novel coronavirus, at the Health Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel February 23, 2020. Jack Guez / Pool via REUTERS

HAR GILO, West Bank (Reuters) – Israel may quarantine some 200 visitors from South Korea at a military base in a Jewish settlement on the occupied West Bank over coronavirus fears, Israel’s Ynet news site reported on Sunday.

Asked about the report, an Israeli official said only that the security establishment was “examining options for accommodating a delegation of tourists from South Korea in accordance with health minister directives on the matter”.

The Health Ministry had no immediate comment. A diplomat at South Korea’s embassy, reached by phone, said he had no information relating to the Ynet report.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said separately on Sunday he had ordered South Korea and Japan to be added to a list of Asian countries to which travel to and from Israel was being barred. Others on the list include China and Thailand, he said.

The Israeli government was finding alternative flight routes out for a group of South Koreans who were stranded when their original return flight was canceled, Deri told Israel Radio.

According to Ynet, the base being considered as a quarantine site is in Har Gilo, a settlement south of Jerusalem.

Har Gilo residents mounted a small demonstration in response. “Isolate Corona, Not Our Community,” read a placard carried by one of the protesters.

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by David Holmes

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