(25 Feb 2020) Concern over the new virus has spread to the cobblestoned streets of Jerusalem, sparking fears that the upcoming Easter holiday will see a drop in tourism.
After a group of South Korean tourists visited the holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, among other places in the country, Israel’s Health Ministry said they tested positive for the virus.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was one of their stops.
Many visitors this week came armed with face masks in light of the developments.
Wayel Bishara, a tour guide, said he was taking precautions with his tour groups.
“I am taking my group back, it’s not a question of racism, let’s understand this situation, on the contrary, I like them but we have to be careful”, he said.
Bishara guides Italian tourists.
And while he said he expected his business to drop because the virus has now hit Italy, he said what matters more is for Israel, and the world, to get a handle on the virus.
The country’s tourism industry will bounce back if it is affected, he said.
The new virus has taken aim at a broadening swath of the globe, with officials in Europe and the Middle East scrambling to limit the spread of an outbreak that showed signs of stabilising at its Chinese epicentre but posed new threats far beyond.
Israeli health ministry said that it is investigating whether the South Korean tourists had transmitted the virus while in the country.
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