On 4 February 2020 the Ministry of Health published a Public Health Order (the New Corona Virus 2019) (Instructions for Employers of Employees in Home Isolation) (Temporary Order), 2020. This Order was subsequently updated on 23 February 2020 and the Ministry issued a further notification on 27 February 2020. This alert reflects the provisions in force at the time of writing.

The Order defines an ‘Employee in Isolation’, as including any employed person (regardless of whether they are employed in a formal employment relationship and including volunteers and service providers at the employer's premises) who is required to be in isolation, to rule out an infection by the coronavirus.

Under the new order:

1. Employers are forbidden from requiring employees in isolation to attend work, and must prohibit their attendance during the period in which the employee is required to remain in isolation, even if the employee wishes to enter the workplace.

2. Employees in isolation are required to provide their employer with a notice, as soon as possible, of their requirement to be in isolation and the duration of this isolation.

3. Employers are prohibited from dismissing employees in isolation because of their absence during the isolation period.

This Order joins the Public Health Order (the New Corona Virus 2019) (Home Isolation) (Temporary Order), 2020, published by the Ministry of Health on 2 February 2020, which determines who should be in isolation, the meaning of isolation and its duration.

Who should be in isolation?

In general, under the updated instructions released by the Ministry of Health, the following people should be in isolation.

  • Individuals returning from the following updated list of countries, must be quarantined in home isolation for 14 days, from the date of leaving these countries: China, Thailand, Hong-Kong, Singapore, Macao, South Korea and Japan.
  • Please note, that individuals who did not spend time in these countries, other than for a connecting flights, are not required to be quarantined in home isolation (other than through China).
  • Any individual returning from Italy, as of 27 February 2020 (and not as initially notified), is required to be quarantined in home isolation for 14 days.
  • Any person who has been in close contact (as defined by the Order) with a patient who has a positive laboratory finding for the virus.
  • Any person with respect to whom a doctor has determined that he or she has been in close contact with a patient as described above, during the past 14 days.

Instructions have been added requiring quarantine in home isolation for individuals who were in contact with a group of Korean visitors who toured Israel. The duration is 14 days from the date of last contact with the group.

Individuals quarantined in home isolation must independently report themselves to the Ministry of Health, by way of an online form or the health call centre on *5400.

Restrictions on entry into Israel

As of Monday 24 February 2020, in addition to the limitations on entry into Israel from China, Macao, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong, entry into Israel will also be denied for individuals who visited South Korea or Japan during the 14 days prior to their arrival in Israel other than for individuals who are citizens or residents of Israel.

Flights out of Israel

Currently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recommended completely avoiding any travel to China and South Korea, and to further consider travel to Thailand and Japan.

We recommend keeping updated with all the latest information, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs web site page titled ‘Recommendations for Overseas Travelers’.

The Ministry of Health is constantly updating its recommendations for overseas travelers. Click here for the full list of the Ministry’s recommendations regarding the Corona Virus. We recommend specifically referring to the Q&A’s section at the bottom of the page.

Further travel guidance issued on 27 February 2020

The Ministry of Health has recommended the public consider the necessity of trips abroad in general, in addition to the requirement that individuals returning from specific countries be quarantined in home isolation.

The Ministry of Health has instructed individuals in Israel to avoid participating in international conferences and gatherings, including travelling to religious events, which are attended by participants from around the world.

The Ministry of Health has instructed that organisations and individuals refrain from holding international conferences in Israel.

The duration of the isolation period

In general, the isolation period will be in effect for 14 days, from the last date on which the individual was in China (for anyone returning from China), or for 14 days from the last date of contact with a patient.

Only a Ministry of Health comprehensive medical certificate is required

The Ministry of Health has published a public notice containing explicit guidelines on the subject, including an instruction that states that any absence from work resulting from mandated isolation will be considered as absence due to illness.

On 4 February 2020, the Ministry of Health published a comprehensive medical certificate for employees who are in mandated isolation, replacing the lawfully required medical certificate. The guidelines explicitly prohibit employers from requiring these employees to provide an additional medical certificate.

Final note

Please note that the guidelines on handling the coronavirus are constantly being updated, and therefore, employers are strongly recommended to examine the updated guidelines on an ongoing basis, especially in relation to isolation, entry into Israel and travel warnings.

For further information please see below links to the documents discussed, in Hebrew.

For your convenience, below please find a few links to important publications, for your attention and use (in Hebrew):

  • Public Health Order (the New Corona Virus 2019) (Temporary Order), 2020, updated on February 23, 2020. The Order is valid for 90 days, from 2 February 2020.
  • Notifications of the Spokesperson for the Population and Immigration Authority regarding the entry into Israel.

Borders will be closed to foreigners who visited Thailand, Hong-Kong, Macao and Singapore.

Borders will be closed to individuals who visited South Korea and Japan.