Israel Closes Border As Coronavirus Spreads; EU Seals Borders; Gaza Reports First COVID-19 Cases; Egypt Likely Underreporting COVID-19; Syrian Refugees At Severe Risk

Israel has closed its borders to all foreigners seeking entry to the country in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. Prior to the border closure, Israel had been allowing non-nationals into the country if they could demonstrate the ability to self-quarantine. Under the new ban, however, all non-Israeli nationals will be barred from entering the country. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Israel’s Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, has also instructed Israeli Police to prepare for a complete lockdown of the county. Erdan described such a move as “inevitable.” During a conference Erdan told participants that, “I am convinced that in view of the situation that has arisen, this is an inevitable decision that will save many lives.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

More Reported by i24 News. Read more…

As of March 18, 2020, the number of people infected worldwide by COVID-19 was more than 200,000, while deaths from the pandemic exceeded 8,000. Travelers seeking to return home as European nations closed border clogged the highways, slowing the movement of needed supplies. The United States and Canada were reported to be working on a mutual ban that would restrict non-essential travel between the two nations. Reported by the Times of Israel. Read more…

The European Union has sealed its borders, barring visitors from traveling to Europe for 30-days. Reported by i24 News. Read more…

Israel will impose a total lockdown when it feels it is losing control over the COVID-19 situation said Avi Simhon, chairman of the National Economic Council in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. “If we feel that the number of people infected in one day is so high that we are losing control, that we’re headed to a situation of thousands of new infected a day, we will hit the brakes and declare a lockdown,” he told The Times of Israel, saying it was impossible to determine how the quickly the virus might spread. The Israeli Health Ministry has warned that if citizens do not adhere to restrictions and guidelines issued by the government the virus could kill thousands. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

The number of COVID-19 infections in Israel rose to 883 by Saturday, March 21. Israel’s first fatality was also reported, an 88-year old man. Fifteen patients were in serious condition. Reported by i24 News. Read more…

The Gaza Strip has also reported its first two cases of coronavirus, raising concerns that if the virus spreads there, it could overwhelm Gaza’s health care system. The virus was confirmed in two men who traveled from Egypt. Gaza’s isolation due to an Egyptian and Israeli blockade may have delayed the arrival of the virus there. The Palestinian Authority prime minister, Mahammad Shtayyeh, ordered people to stay home for two weeks to slow the spread of the virus. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

Egypt itself may be grappling with a higher rate of the virus than what the government is reporting. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

Hamas may have also threatened to spread the virus in Israel. According to a report in Breaking Israel News, a Lebanese newspaper with close ties to Hamas says that Gaza warned Egypt and Qatar that if the flow of money to the enclave does not continue, they will send half of Israel into bond shelters and increase the number of coronavirus patients. Reported by Breaking Israel News. Read more…

Some believe that COVID-19 could be and indication that we are in the war between Gog and Magog, as foretold in the Bible. Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, during a lecture discussed the concept of God wielding a pandemic as a weapon. According to Eliyahu, the virus is part of the war, and will hit particularly hard nations who boycotted or caused Israel to suffer. Reported by Breaking Israel News. Read more…

At the opposite end of the spectrum, in a marvelous display of hypocrisy, Israel-hating Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, who denies the Holocaust, issued a religious ruling that it is okay for Muslims to buy a “Zionist” vaccine against coronavirus. Reported by Breaking Israel News. Read more…

Oddly, Syria claims it has no outbreaks of coronavirus. However, given that Syria’s health care system has been devastated by the nine-year long civil war, limited testing in some areas and no testing available in others, the virus may be running unchecked. Particularly vulnerable will be those in northern Syria in the Idlib province where a recent government offensive has pushed refugees into crowded refugee comps at the border with Turkey. Reported by U.S. News and World Report. Read more…

Medical workers are warning that a coronavirus outbreak in northern Syria could be devastating due to a lack of medical equipment and infrastructure. Reported by The Voice of America. Read more…

As COVID-19 continues to spread, people have questions regarding the virus. Isaiah Arkin, a virus researcher and professor of Structural Biochemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, gave some answers about how virus’s such as COVID-19 work, in an interview with The Times of Israel. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…