Israel’s parliament has approved a law mandating electronic bracelets for all arrivals to Israel who are required to quarantine due to the coronavirus.
The new law states that people sent to quarantine at home must wear the tracking bracelet to ensure compliance.
If they refuse, they must quarantine in a state-run hotel. Exceptions will be made for children under the age of 14, and other humanitarian cases.
Currently, all people entering the country are required to isolate, unless they can present a vaccination certificate, or a certificate issued by the country’s health ministry that shows they have recovered from the disease.
Israel’s parliament has approved a law mandating electronic bracelets for all arrivals to Israel who are required to quarantine due to the coronavirus. Pictured: A traveller shows his electronic bracelet and its box on March 1, used to enforce quarantine. They were initially voluntary, but now the choice will be between a hotel quarantine and a bracelet
Those who have been vaccinated or have recovered abroad can be released from quarantine if they undergo a test to prove their anti-body levels.
The contentious requirement passed a final vote in the Knesset 4-1 on Wednesday, with only five of the parliament’s 120 members voting on the bill. Critics, including the sole dissenting lawmaker, said that it violates individuals’ privacy.
For several weeks, electronic devices have already been employed on a voluntary basis to ensure that people don’t break the quarantine.
The bill states that private companies will carry out the programme on behalf of the government, with all information being stored in servers owned by the government, but maintained by the companies.
An individual’s data will be deleted at the end of the quarantine period, so long as there is no report of an infraction, or in no longer than 30 days.
The private companies will alert the government if it appears the person has left their home where they should be quarantining.
The bracelet cannot collect any other details about the person who is wearing it, except for whether they are complying with their quarantine, according to The Jerusalem Post that spoke with SuperCom president and CEO Ordan Trabelsi.
The devices won’t track a person’s location if they violate the quarantine order, but will alert authorities if the person has left the area they were supposed to remain.
Pictured: Travellers sit for the Covid test at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on March 8, 2021. Those who have been vaccinated or have recovered abroad can be released from quarantine if they undergo a test to prove their anti-body levels
At the same time, the country’s Supreme Court struck down a series of measures restricting the entry and exit of Israeli citizens from the country, saying those limitations were illegal.
The regulations limiting the number of people entering the country per day to 3,000, and requiring those unvaccinated to receive approval from a committee to leave the country, will expire Saturday and cannot be renewed.
As Israel’s vaccination programme continues to lead the world in terms of the percentage of its population inoculated, serious cases of coronavirus dropped bellow 600 for the first time since December, according to its health ministry.
Currently, 578 patients are in a severe condition, of whom 269 are in a critical condition while 202 are on ventilators.
Israel has now given 109.79 doses of Covid-19 vaccines per 100 people, meaning it has given more doses than there are people in the country. By comparison, the UK has given 39.04 doses per 100 people.
With its world-leading vaccination programme, Israel has been able to open up bars, restaurants and other leisure facilities to people who have green passports – proof that they are inoculated from the virus, either with two vaccine doses or having recovered from covid
A total of 9,502,677 doses have been administered, out of a population of around 8.6 million, while over four million citizens are eligible to receive the coronavirus green passport that grants entry to restaurants, gyms and theatres, and exempts holders from quarantine.
Individuals are eligible for the passports if they are inoculated against the coronavirus, meaning they have either had two doses of the vaccine, or have recovered from the disease.
‘We see how effective the vaccine is, and how dangerous coronavirus can be,’ Health Minister Yuli Edelstein tweeted on Wednesday. ‘We see already some places open only to green passport holders – isn’t it a shame that you are left behind?’
Meanwhile, Israel has seen 6,048 deaths as a result of the coronavirus, and total 822,703 cases. Of a total of 72,600 tests taken since Tuesday night, with 2.1 percent coming back positive – the lowest rate in the country since December.
The Palestinian Authority said Wednesday it will receive around 60,000 coronavirus vaccine doses over the next 48 hours, the first shipment provided by a World Health Organization partnership aimed at helping poor countries.
Pictured: A Palestinian man receives a dose of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at the Ministry of Health Sabha Al Harazeen clinic, in Al Shejaeiya neighborhood, in the east of Gaza City, 17 March 2021
That’s only enough doses to vaccinate 31,000 people out of a population of nearly 5 million Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza.
Israel, which has faced criticism for not sharing more of its supplies with the Palestinians, has already vaccinated 5 million people- more than half of its population – and has largely reopened its economy.
Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Kamal al-Shakhra said authorities would receive 38,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccines will be kept in storage until the WHO reviews recent safety concerns.
An Israeli security official confirmed the shipment, which arrived in Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, and said about a third of the vaccines would be sent to Gaza on Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
These are the first doses to arrive through the WHO’s COVAX initiative, a global humanitarian partnership that has been slow to get off the ground, facing shortages of cash and supplies as rich countries have galloped ahead with their vaccination campaigns.