Israel to use anti-terror tech to counter coronavirus ‘invisible enemy’

Jerusalem(Reuters)-Israel plans to use counter-terrorism to track technology and partially closed its economy to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures, his speech, in his Jerusalem office, about the new measures, will take the battle to the Cov May 14, 2020. Gali Tibbon/Pool via Reuters

Technology monitoring will be deployed to find people who have been in contact with those carrying the virus, subject to Cabinet approval, Netanyahu told a press conference in Jerusalem.

“We will soon start using the technology of digital means that we have been using to combat terrorism”, Netanyahu said. He said that he had asked the Department of Justice’s approval, because these measures may be against the patient’s privacy.

In the upgrading of preventive measures, the Netanyahu government announced, it, hotels, restaurants and the theatre will be closed from Sunday, the employees should not go to their place of work, unless it is necessary.

However, essential services, pharmacies, supermarkets and banks will continue to operate.

Health officials urged people to maintain social distance, do not collect more than 10 people in a room.

Shin Bet, the Israeli Internal Security Service, confirmed it is to review the use of its technical capacity to fight coronavirus requirements, Netanyahu and the Ministry of Health.

Avner Pinchuk, a privacy expert with the Association for civil rights in Israel, said this ability may include real-time tracking of people living with the mobile phone, on-site quarantine breach and back through the metadata to find out what they have and they have had contact.

“I am troubled by this announcement. My understanding is that we are in a unique situation, but this may seem like an over-reach. Much will depend on how invasive the new measures,”Pinchuk.

Shin Bet, however, said in a statement, the isolation is enforced not on the table. “There is no intention of using the techniques described above for performing or tracking in the context of the isolation provisions,”it said.

Netanyahu said that this is not an easy choice, and described the virus as an”invisible enemy must be in position.” He said that Israel will follow a similar method used in Taiwan.

“In my years as Prime Minister, I have avoided the use of these devices among the population, but there is no choice,”Netanyahu said.

The latest announcement of a series of more stringent restrictions by Israel to contain the virus.

The Israeli army said earlier on Saturday that it has ordered all troops back to their bases by Sunday morning, that a fighting soldier should be prepared for a long stay without leaving for up to a month.

Last week, anyone who enters Israel is ordered to self-isolate for two weeks, the school has been closed. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis currently, isolation.

The Israeli health Ministry said that 193 people have been tested positive, no one died. Many have been on international flights in the past two weeks.

Additional reporting by Tova Cohen,Dan Williams and Steven Sher; written by the Lubell; Editing by William Maclean, Stephen Farrell, Daniel Wallis and Michael Perry

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