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Israel imposes entry ban on South Koreans

Posted February. 24, 2020 09:00,   

Updated February. 24, 2020 09:00


Israel has imposed an entry ban on South Koreans and foreign tourists who stayed in South Korea for 14 days or longer to prevent the spread of the infectious coronavirus from China.

The South Korean Embassy in Israel said Sunday (local time) that Israel decided to put an entry ban on South Koreans and foreigners departing from South Korea given that a group of Korean tourists to the country were found to have been infected with the virus and a spike in the number of infected cases in South Korea.

According to the North Gyeongsang provincial government, 18 out of 39 Catholics at the Andong Diocese who went on a pilgrimage to Israel were confirmed to have COVID-19. They visited Israel from February 8 to 16 and returned to Incheon International Airport.

Due to the entry ban of Israel, 177 passengers and cabin crew including 130 South Koreans, who landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv at around 7:55 p.m. Saturday, departed for Incheon two hours later, and only 11 Israeli passengers got off the plane. More than 180 South Koreans who were about to return to the nation with the plane are stranded in Israel.

The Israeli government’s entry ban was imposed without any prior notice after the plane departed from Incheon International Airport. “Israeli health authorities notified Ambassador Seo Dong-gu of its entry ban right before the plane landed at the airport in Tel Aviv,” an insider of the embassy told The Dong-A Ilbo. “We lodged a strong complaint with the Israeli government and the Israeli embassy in Korea about the entry bad,” said the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Se-Hyung Lee turtle@donga.com · Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com