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Baggage claim area at Ben-Gurion International Airport

Baggage claim area at Ben-Gurion International Airport, March 2020. 

Israel banned foreigners from entering the country unless they have residency permits in order to try to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), announced the Population and Immigration Authority.

“Following two weeks of restricting entry to travelers who are neither citizens nor residents of the State of Israel, the Health Ministry has recommended stricter entry prevention measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus,” said the statement, according to a report by i24 News on Wednesday.

Some exceptions would be allowed for people who are based in Israel, the statement said. Israel has 433 confirmed coronavirus cases and no deaths yet from the virus.

Meanwhile, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan predicted on Wednesday that the country was headed to a “full shutdown,” he told Army Radio.

He said “this is an inevitable decision,” according to i24 News.

In addition, Israel closed off Palestinian areas in the West Bank on Wednesday in order to help stop the spread of the virus.

“From today, a closure has taken place in the West Bank,” said Yotam Shefer, who heads the international department of COGAT that is the military body that handles Palestinian civilian issues, according to AFP.

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