As the novel coronavirus continues to rattle the world, Israel and the Palestinian Authority are grappling with containing the outbreak.
■ Palestinian Authority bars all foreign tourists for two weeks, closes Bethlehem churches and mosques with 19 confimed cases of virus
■ All travelers returning to Israel from Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland and Austria are ordered to go into a 14-day quarantine, effective immediately
■ 25 Israelis have so far tested positive for coronavirus, known as COVID-19; thousands have been placed in isolation
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11:38 A.M. Thirteen U.S. nationals quarantined in Bethlehem hotel
Thirteen Americans suspected of being exposed to coronavirus during a trip to the Holy Land are in quarantine near Bethlehem and are coordinating with U.S. and Palestinian authorities to try to get home. (Reuters)
10:26 A.M. Israeli stock market opens with 5 percent drop amid coronavirus panic
8:52 A.M. Condition of infected Israeli man from East J'lem worsens
A 38-year-old Israeli man from East Jerusalem who caught the disease and required artificial respiration is currently in harsh condition and suffering from high fever, the Poriya Hospital in Tiberias said in a statement. (Noa Shpigel)
2:30 A.M. Third AIPAC Policy Conference attendee diagnosed
A third AIPAC Policy Conference attendee has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health statement said Saturday.
The patient is a Los Angeles resident who recently returned from the pro-Israel lobby's conference in Washington, D.C., the statement said. The department did not mention whether this person contracted the virus at AIPAC, or if they had already caught it before the conference, which took place from last Saturday until Tuesday and drew about 18,000 participants.
10:15 P.M. Two more Israelis diagnosed with coronavirus, bringing total to 25
A woman from central Israel tested positive for Covid-19 after coming in contact with a group of Japanese tourists, becoming the 24th case in Israel. At the same time, an Israeli man from the center also tested positive with the virus after returning from Spain on March 2, becoming the 25th case in the country. (Ido Efrati)
10:00 P.M. Saudi Arabia asks people arriving from four countries to self-quarantine
Saudi Arabia has asked people who have travelled to Lebanon, Egypt, Italy or South Korea to self-quarantine for two weeks from the day of their arrival in the Kingdom, Saudi state media quoted the health ministry as saying on Saturday. (Reuters)
09:30 P.M. 23rd Israeli diagnosed with coronavirus
An Israeli from the Tel Aviv district just tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from Italy on February 29, and remaining in quarantine since. (Ido Efrati)
09:30 P.M. Greece reports 21 new coronavirus cases in a day, bringing the total in to 66 (Reuters)
08:30 P.M. 22nd Israeli diagnosed with the virus
A man in his fifties from central Israel, who came back from Barcelona, Spain on March 1, has just tested positive for the coronavirus after being in quarantine for the past few days. (Ido Efrati)
8:30 P.M. Egypt confirms 33 new cases of coronavirus on Nile cruise ship
Egypt confirmed on Saturday 33 new cases of coronavirus on a cruise ship on the River Nile that officials said the previous day had been struck by the virus, the health minister said.
None of the cases were showing symptoms of the illness, Health Minister Hala Zayed told reporters. (Reuters)
8:27 P.M. Israel may expand quaratine order to some U.S. arrivals
Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov said Israel may expand quarantine regulations to arrivals from some U.S. states, adding he expects a final decision "today or tomorrow."
"We're looking at states in the U.S. where there's higher rates of morbidity," Bar Siman Tov told Israel's Channel 12 News. "These states are Washington, California, and it seems that there's a high rate of infection in New York, too."
He stressed that the Health Ministry's directives on measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak "are purely professional," saying no political factors affect them. (Ronny Linder)
6:50 P.M. Air France to cancel all flights to and from Tel Aviv until March 28
Air France confirms having been advised by Israeli authorities regarding entry into Israeli territory applicable to foreign citizens who visited several countries including France, Germany, Spain, Austria and Switzerland.
5:19 P.M. Three more cases discovered in Bethlehem
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah said three more Palestinians tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the West Bank to 19. The three latest patients have been taken to a quarantine facility in Bethlehem.
According the ministry's statement, lab tests have confirmed they were in contact with people who were at the Angel Hotel, where several staff members are said to have contracted COVID-19 from Greek tourists. (Jack Khoury)
>> Read Jack Khoury's report: Bethlehem becomes a ghost town after coronavirus closure
04:20 P.M. Egypt says cruise ship quarantined over new virus cluster
A cruise ship on Egypt's Nile River with over 150 tourists and local crew was in quarantine Saturday in the southern city of Luxor, after 12 people tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities said.
A Taiwanese-American tourist who had previously been on the same ship tested positive when she returned to Taiwan. The World Health Organization informed Egyptian authorities, who tested everyone on the ship. Health authorities found a dozen of the ship's Egyptian crew members had contracted the fast-spreading virus, but did not show symptoms, according to a joint statement from Egypt's Health Ministry and the WHO on Friday. (The Associated Press)
03:50 P.M. Hundreds of tourists depart the Palestinian territories after virus spreads in the West Bank
The Coordinator of Civil Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has arranged the departure of dozens of tourist groups from the Palestinian Territories to Ben-Gurion Airport during the past few days, answering several requests from the groups and consulates following the discovering first cases of coronavirus in the territories. (Jack Khoury)
12:45 P.M. Some 3,000 tourists leave Israel
Some 3,000 tourists have left Israel in an orderly fashion on Friday after Jerusalem imposed self-quarantine on Israelis returning from those countries.
"In the past two weeks we've witnessed an accelerated trend of foreigners leaving Israel," Israel's Population and Immigration Authority said in statement, adding that it is preparing to receive hundreds of foreign national arriving at Ben-Gurion International Airport before they depart the country.
The authority added that Israel has also assisted the Palestinian Authority in evacuating tourists from the West Bank. (Lee Yaron)
10:38 A.M. 15 U.S. nationals quarantined in a Bethlehem hotel
Fifteen American citizens entered isolation in a hotel in Bethlehem after 16 individuals had tested positive for coronavirus in the West Bank city, according to the Palestinian Authority. (Haaretz)
10:13 A.M. Condition of infected Israeli man from East J'lem serious but stable
A 38-year-old Israeli man from East Jerusalem who caught the disease and required artificial respiration is currently in a serious but stable condition, the Poriya Hospital in Tiberias said in a statement.
The statement added that the patient is treated by intensive care staffers, and that he was administrated anti-viral medication. (Ido Efrati)