By Benjamin Brown • 11 March, 2020
The Israeli police service on Tuesday announced that it would begin rigidly enforcing the mandatory 14-day home quarantine for citizens returning from trips abroad, in a bid to combat the spread of Coronavirus in Israel.
The police are setting up teams to monitor those in quarantine in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, a statement read. The teams, consisting of police officers and health officials, will be tasked with ensuring that quarantine orders are followed, thus preventing a further spread of the virus.
Travel and immigration data will be made accessible to police in order to ensure those returning from abroad abide by the regulations, with police now having an overview of all arrivals to Israel.
So far, a lack of enforcement by the Israeli police has made it easy for Israelis to violate the quarantine orders, thus risking spreading the virus and, especially, endangering old and ill citizens.
Meanwhile, the Israeli police have revealed it has opened criminal investigations against at least eight citizens for knowingly violating the self-quarantine.
At the end of February, the Health Ministry warned that Israelis who knowingly violate the 14-day coronavirus home-quarantine could face up to seven years in prison. Additionally, those who violate the ruling due to negligence can be imprisoned for up to three years.
Temporary legislation labeled “The People’s Health Order 2020” was brought in to legally enforce the quarantine. It also states that those who had close contact with someone diagnosed with the virus must enforce the self-quarantine in which those affected must avoid public places “including but not limited to educational establishments, workplaces, public transportation, recreation and shopping centers, medical centers and healthcare clinics,” according to the Health Ministry.
In a statement on a special website informing Israelis about the risks of the virus, the Ministry urged the public to report those not abiding by the law.
The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Israel rose to 76 on Wednesday with an airport employee becoming the latest to test positive for the COVD-19 virus.