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40,000 Tel Aviv Marathon Runners Ignore Coronavirus Fears

Foreign athletes already in Israel were allowed to compete after Israel's Health Ministry said it was barring non-resident participants as Israeli officials work to keep out coronavirus. The city said last week that Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov had authorized the participation of any runners already in the country - but did not permit the inclusion of participants who had not yet arrived in Israel. The race was kicked off by Mayor Ron Huldai at 7 a.m. Friday 28 Feb. 2020 and many streets around the city are expected to remain closed until 1 p.m. The city said its decisions were in keeping with Health Ministry directives as officials sought to stem the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Israel has taken far-reaching steps to prevent an outbreak, including banning entry into the country to foreigners who recently visited Italy, China and a handful of East Asian countries. (VFI News)