Israel bans Thailand

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Thailand has called on Israel to review its decision to ban Thais from entering the country in a bid to control the spread of deadly coronavirus (Covid-19). As a result of the ban, the Labour Ministry will have to postpone sending Thai workers to Israel under the employment cooperation project between the two countries. The situation is being assessed daily.

According to the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority has barred entry to anyone who visited Thailand, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong during the past 14 days, said Natapanu Nopakun, deputy spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Previously, Israel’s health ministry had imposed a 14-day house quarantine on visitors from Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.

Thailand hoped Israel would review the ban after learning about the measures Thailand is taking to contain the virus, and given the good relations between the countries. Meir Shlomo, Israel’s ambassador to Thailand, told the Bangkok Post on Wednesday that the Israeli Ministry of Health’s decision was aimed at preventing the spread of the Covid-19 to Israel. Israeli ministries were following developments closely and re-assessing the situation in Thailand and in the other countries on a daily basis, he said, adding no one knew at this stage how long the current situation would last.

However, the two countries will continue to share information and preserve a spirit of mutual confidence, as they had done in so many fields for so many years, said Mr Shlomo. “Several thousand Thai tourists, businesspeople and workers in agriculture travel to Israel every year. We do hope they will all be able to reschedule their flights and travel to Israel in the very near future,” he said.

Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed concern for the health of medical personnel who are looking after Covid-19 patients. The prime minister also has instructed agencies to implement strict monitoring of the outbreak, she added.

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