"Public health precedes everything," Israel's prime minister said in an address to the country.

By Alison Fox
Updated March 10, 2020

In an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Israel instituted a 14-day self-quarantine rule for anyone arriving into the country.

The new policy went into effect immediately for Israeli citizens and will go into effect on Thursday for foreign nationals, according to the BBC. The decision will last for two weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an address posted to Twitter on Monday.

"After a day of complex discussions, we made a decision: everyone who comes to Israel from abroad will enter the 14-day isolation," Netanyahu said in a statement on Twitter. "This is a tough decision, but it is essential to maintain public health - and public health precedes everything."

As of Tuesday morning, Israel had reported 58 confirmed cases of coronavirus, but no deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's real-time map, which tracks the virus worldwide. It comes on the heels of Israel’s decision to force visitors from several countries in Asia and Europe to quarantine as well, Reuters reported.

Related: Everything You Need to Know If You're Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak

For foreign citizens entering the country, this means they will have to show they have a place to stay for the quarantine period, the BBC noted. Any foreign citizen who can’t self-quarantine will be refused entry into the country, according to NPR.

This quarantine policy will affect about 300,000 citizens in the country, which has a total population of about 9 million, Reuters noted, citing Israeli media.

Passengers pull their suitcases while wearing protective masks at the arrival hall of Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv.
Jack Guez / Getty

The policy comes as Italy, which has the second highest number of cases of COVID-19 outside of mainland China with more than 9,100, implemented a nationwide quarantine in an attempt to stem the tide there.

It also comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised Americans, especially those who are older or with underlying health conditions, to avoid cruises and “non-essential travel such as long plane trips.”

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