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Coronavirus: Israel closes borders with Syria, Lebanon

March 6, 2020 at 6:45 pm

People wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus (Covid-19) in East Jerusalem on 6 March 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Israel decided to close its borders with Syria and Lebanon amid rising fears of a coronavirus outbreak, the country’s state media reported on Friday, Anadolu Agency reports.

According to the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation, the Israeli army decided to close the Quneitra crossing on the Syrian border and the Ras Naqura crossing on the border with Lebanon.

The Quneitra crossing is used by the Druze community for work and study purposes, and also for the export of agricultural products. It is also a point of passage for UN forces in the area.

The Ras Naqura crossing is designated for the transit of UN forces.

The Israeli Health Ministry has so far confirmed 20 cases OF COVID-19 in the country and Israeli airline company El Al has decided to reduce some international flights in view of the rising coronavirus risk.

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El Al reduced flights to Germany’s capital Berlin, San Francisco in the U.S., Barcelona in Spain, and Zurich, Switzerland.

Earlier, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported that 150 El Al staff members have placed themselves under quarantine.

The new coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has now spread to more than 80 countries.

The global death toll is nearing 3,300, with more than 97,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Notably, some 52,000 patients who contracted the virus recovered.

The WHO, which had declared the outbreak an international health emergency, recently updated the global risk level to “very high”.

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