Coronavirus’ spread in Israel unstoppable, says health official, as soccer fans isolated

Soccer fans and an entire high school were ordered into isolation due to the virus.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

In a stark example of how a single coronavirus carrier can cause havoc, an Israeli who returned from Italy on Feb. 23 and tested positive for the virus has led to to a Health Ministry order confining a high school and 77 soccer fans to home isolation.

The Israeli managed a toy store called the Red Pirate in the city of Or Yehuda. A 9th grader from the Brenner High School in Givat Brenner visited the store.

He has now tested positive, but not before attending a major soccer game at Bloomfield stadium in Tel Aviv. As a result, 77 people who sat in rows near him are confined to two weeks of isolation at home. Initially, the Health Ministry required 5,000 people from the stadium to go into isolation but rescinded that order.

Also sent to home isolation are the students, teachers and staff from the 9th grader’s school.

The Health Ministry has requested that the prime minister sign off on an order to prohibit gatherings of  more than 2,500 people to control the spread of the disease.

Health Ministry Deputy Director General Itamar Grotto said that widespread infections of coronavirus in Israel are not preventable. On a positive note, he said that so far there haven’t been reports of people having been infected who had not been outside of Israel, Kan news reported.

Grotto also said that those who travel abroad should prepare themselves for the possibility that they will have to remain in quarantine, even if they come back from a country which is under no restrictions.

Israel has created a list of countries from which travelers are expected to go into isolation upon their return.

Grotto himself underwent two weeks of isolation after traveling to Japan to help Israelis infected with the virus who were quarantined on the cruise ship Diamond Princess.

Israel has taken some of the most wide-ranging steps of any country in an attempt to stop the disease. There were even reports, which the Health Ministry denied, that it was considering confining U.S. citizens traveling from the States.

However, other countries have begun implementing tough rules, too, in order to contain the virus’s spread.

In Italy on Wednesday, schools and universities were ordered closed nationwide until mid-March.

In the United Arab Emirates, all public and private schools and places of higher learning will be closed from March 8 for a month’s time.

The virus first detected in China has infected more than 89,000 people globally and caused over 3,000 deaths.