Two more Israelis tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the Health Ministry said, bringing the total of those diagnosed on Monday to five, and the total of Israelis with the highly contagious illness to 12.
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Both patients, who joined the others in isolation, returned from Italy in the last days of February, a public announcement said. The first, from the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan, came back on February 25th, while the second, from the southern port city of Ashdod, landed in Israel the next day.
"Full details of the epidemiological investigation that is underway with accurate flight numbers and locations will be published soon," the statement said. No information was as yet available about their condition. The three other Israelis diagnosed on Monday were experiencing mild symptoms, the health ministry earlier said.
People who would have come in close contact with the two new patients will be expected to confine themselves to their homes for fourteen days, according to Health Ministry directives, joining thousands of other Israelis currently in quarantine.
This comes on Election Day, a day off throughout the country which sees many throng polling stations, but also malls and other popular destinations. Israel's election committee set up special stations for Israelis in quarantine to cast their votes.
Out of the 12 cases, seven seem to have contracted the illness in Italy, and two in Israel from people who tested positive to COVID-19. The other three were guests on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was anchored in a Japanese port.
One of them had been cleared following hospitalization in Japan, but tested positive upon his return to Israel on Friday. All the passengers who were with him on board flight TK53 and then TK84, which landed in Israel at 08:55 A.M., are requested to immediately enter a house quarantine of 14 days and report immediately to the Health Ministry.
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On Thursday afternoon, reports emerged that an Israeli residing in the area of the Coastal Plain had violated the quarantine he is under and went to visit family members. The court in response criticized the police for failing to bring the man to a hearing on his case and releasing him without restrictions.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited a special Magen David Adom emergency services station that was set up especially to handle civilians' inquiries pertaining to the virus. During his visit, the premier called on the public to cooperate in order to prevent the spread of the disease in the country. "Whoever has returned from any country in the world and seems to be carrying symptoms of the virus — Magen David Adom will send paramedics to his house to test them for it," Netanyahu said.