FAQ – Coronavirus

According to the updated instructions from the Ministry of Health,  travelers from the following territories are not allowed to enter Israel, and the Technion campus: China, Hong Kong and Macao, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Italy.

Any person who visited one of the following locations: Taiwan or Australia over the last 14 days, and has one of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 38C (100.4F) degrees or higher
  • Cough
  • Trouble breathing, or any other respiratory symptom

Must go to the nearest healthcare clinic or medical center. Call in advance and notify them of your arrival. 

Keep your nose and mouth covered with a facemask or another cloth, avoid close contact with people, avoid public transportation and follow the Ministry of Health’s guidance.

For more information, please see the instructions of the Ministry of Health here.

What is the Coronavirus?

The coronavirus belongs to a large family of viruses identified as the cause of a certain animal disease and can also cause disease in humans. The name ‘coronavirus’ refers to their resemblance to a crown (corona in Latin) when viewed in an electron microscope. The severity of human illness depends on the particular virus strand of this family and ranges between mild ailment, such as a cold, up to a serious disease that can negatively affect the lungs and lead to multiple organ failure, such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

What are the symptoms of the infection?

The symptoms of the infection caused by the novel coronavirus are similar to those of influenza: fever, cough, shortness of breath, and respiratory distress. The infection might lead to acute pneumonia, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), renal failure and can be fatal. The percentage of severe cases is not yet known.

How an infection by the novel coronavirus diagnosed?

The infection is diagnosed with a laboratory test of respiratory secretions. Only people suspected of exposure to the virus, who develop symptoms, are referred to do the test. Only the medical center attending physician can send specimens for testing after getting permission from the Ministry of Health District Physician.

How severe is the novel coronavirus illness?

The clinical knowledge concerning the new disease is not yet complete. The data coming out of China indicate that the disease is benign in most cases. Up to 20% of the diagnosed patients develop complications and the mortality rate is approximately 2% of the patients. It is probable that not all those infected in China are diagnosed. It is not clear what the risk factors of a severe illness are. Currently, available information suggests that the illness is more severe among older adults and people with an impaired immune system or chronic diseases.

Is there a treatment for the infection that is caused by the novel coronavirus?

There is currently no specific treatment for the novel coronavirus infection. People infected with the coronavirus receive supportive care and medical care is given according to the patient’s medical condition.

Is there a vaccine for the novel coronavirus?

There is no antiviral vaccine. Several groups around the world are attempting to develop a vaccine, yet an effective vaccine is not to be expected any time soon.

Is it safe to travel to China?

According to an advisory of the Ministry of Health, travels to the province of Hebei including the city of Wuhan must be avoided. Avoid all nonessential travel to mainland China.

What is the guidance for people who are in China now?

If you are China, we recommend that you:
·         Keep being updated with current spread of the infection to cities in China, and local authorities’ guidance;
·         Avoid contact with live or dead animals, and avoid animal markets;
·         Avoid close contact with anyone with an acute respiratory illness;
·         Make sure to cough and sneeze into your elbow;
·         Frequently wash your hands by using soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer, clean hands especially after coughing and sneezing, and after close contact with a patient or surfaces; and
·         Avoid nonessential visits to healthcare facilities.

And as for other destinations in the Far East?

It is recommended to reconsider any nonessential travels to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore. In any event, keep being updated with the morbidity in the area and follow the guidance of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local authorities at each destination. If you decide to travel, make sure to practice proper hygiene during your stay as recommended to those travelling to China.

And as for other destinations around the world?

There is currently no need to avoid travel to other destinations, but it may change and the guidance of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local authorities in each country may vary according to developments. It is recommended to keep being updated.

I have just returned to Israel from overseas. Should I do something?

The following table presents the required conduct based on the country from which the person returned, health status and the period that passed since the return.

I became aware I had close contact with a person diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. What should I do?

Those who have been in close contact with a confirmed patient must go into home quarantine according to the guidance and inform the Ministry of health as duly required using an online form or through “Kol Habriut” Hotline – *5400. At the same time, they must call their physician or HMO to consult them. if it is determined they indeed had such close contact, they must follow the guidance for those returning from China (see the table above).

What is home quarantine?

The purpose of home quarantine is stopping the spread of the disease and preventing any infection in Israel, by avoiding public places and protecting other household members. Home quarantine is required according to an injunction issued by the Director General of the Ministry of Health and must be maintained until 14 days have passed since the last departure of China or the last contact with a confirmed patient. According to law, you must inform the Ministry of Health of such home quarantine using an online form or through “Kol Habriut” Hotline.

How is home quarantine carried out?

Guidance for the person in quarantine
·         Stay home;
·         Stay in a separate, well-ventilated room with a closed door. Exiting the room will only be when absolutely necessary, and only for very short periods while covering the mouth and nose with a medical face mask. Several individuals of the same household can be quarantined together in the same room. If all household members require quarantine, there is no restriction;
·         Wash hands with soap and water or disinfect them with appropriate alcohol-based sanitizer before and after food preparation, before eating, and before and after using the toilet. Washing with soap and water is preferred over sanitizer if the hands are visibly soiled. It is preferable to use disposable paper for hand drying;
·         If available, use separate toilet;
·         Keep their mouth and nose covered when sneezing or coughing, preferably into a disposable tissue or sleeve. This is to prevent the virus from spreading. Immediately afterwards, wash hands with soap and water or disinfect them with alcohol-based sanitizer; and
·         If fever or respiratory symptoms appear, or any other medical condition, call a clinic or your insuring HMO (Kupat Holim). If necessity, call the Kupat Holim attending physician or go to an emergency ward, but call ahead and mention that a patient who stayed in China is about to arrive. If you go to a medical facility, cover your nose and mouth with a medical face mask or any other cloth, and avoid public transportation.

Are there any restrictions on household members of a quarantined person?

Provided the home quarantine conditions are maintained, household members can continue their normal activities.

General guidance

·         There should be only one person who enters and exits the room of the isolated person, this person should be a healthy person with no other diseases which might further increase their risk;
·         No home visitors are allowed;
·         Check that the common areas in the home such as the kitchen and the bathroom are well ventilated;
·         Upon entering the quarantine space, cover your mouth and nose, preferably with a medical face mask, cloth is also possible;
·         Use disposable products such as gloves when exposed to the quarantined person and the home quarantine space, including dirty surfaces, clothes or beddings;
·         Avoid direct contact with body fluids, especially oral secretions, airway secretions, urine and feces of the quarantined person;
·         Wash hands with soap and water or disinfect them with appropriate alcohol-based sanitizer after every contact with the isolated person or immediate environment, before eating, and after using the toilet. There is a preference to wash with soap and water over sanitizer if the hands have visible dirt;
·         Clean and disinfect surfaces such as a bedside table, bed frame and other furniture in the quarantine room each day with standard household sanitizer (detergent or alcohol-based);
·         Store patient laundry in a dedicated bag in the patient’s room until the time of washing. The laundry may be done with regular detergent;
·         Disposable products such as gloves, tissues, masks and other waste associated with the care of the isolated person must be disposed of in a dedicated bag in the patient’s room and sealed tightly before being disposed of in an external garbage can;
Avoid the sharing of common objects that could transmit the virus with the isolated person, such as: toothbrush, cigarettes, dishes and utensils, towels, beddings, etc. You can wash dishes and utensils with water and dish soap; and all other household members must wash hands frequently.