Some 180 South Koreans were returning home on Sunday after being stranded in Israel when flights between the countries were stopped by Israel due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, the Israel Airports Authority said.

Israel said late on Saturday it would bar travel to and from South Korea after a spike in coronavirus cases there. This coincided with news that a group of South Korean pilgrims, of which nine later tested positive for the virus, had toured some of the country's most popular sites earlier in the month, stoking fears of a local outbreak.

With limited flight options, it was unclear how the tourists would return home after their original flight was cancelled. A spokeswoman for the airports authority said all but 47 had already left the country on indirect flights and the rest were due to depart later on Sunday.

Israeli news website Ynet reported that authorities were looking at the possibility of moving 200 South Korean tourists into quarantine at a military base, apparently referring to a different group.

The website later reported that the group of 200 would instead be brought to the airport.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said he had ordered South Korea and Japan to be added to a list of Asian countries to which travel to and from Israel was being barred. Others on the list include China and Thailand, he said.