With Passover and Easter coming, Israel becomes 1st nation to ban all in-coming travel to prevent coronavirus from engulfing the country. All tourists asked to leave.

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Israel Cabinet meeting (archive) (Photo: GPO/Kobi Gideon)

(Washington, D.C.) — As the global death toll from the coronavirus climbs, the Israeli government is taking absolutely unprecedented measures in the history of the country — of any country — to protect its 9 million citizens and make sure that Israelis are not banned from entering or doing business with the rest of the world.

“After a day of complex discussions, we have made a decision,” Netanyahu told the nation on Monday evening, reported The . “Whoever arrives in Israel from abroad will enter quarantine for 14 days. This is a difficult decision but it is essential to maintaining public health, which takes precedence over everything.”

UPDATE: As of Tuesday, there are now 58 cases of people with the virus on Israel, up from just 21 on Friday. Thank God, so far there have been no deaths.

Please pray for both Israelis and Palestinians as we combat the virus.

Please pray for world leaders and health authorities to have the wisdom — and God’s mercy — to save lives and quickly and effectively stop this virus before it becomes a worst-case scenario.

Please pray that the Lord would be gracious to those whose jobs and businesses are being adversely affected by the virus.

Finally, I would encourage Evangelical Christians to continue planning to come to Israel later in the year on tours, pilgrimages, study opportunities, prayer trips, volunteer opportunities, and so forth. Israel is a very safe country. Officials are taking the challenge very seriously. And it would be a real blessing for Evangelicals to stand with Israelis and Palestinians, pray for us, and help the Israeli and Palestinian economies by visiting at this time. Our ministry, The Joshua Fund, has a tour to Israel and Egypt in October. See below for more information. I would encourage you to register. We’ll certainly let you know if the trip doesn’t happen, but we expect everything to be fine by then.

This article originally appeared on Joel C. Rosenberg’s blog, March 10, 2020, and reposted with permission.