(July 8, 2020 / JNS) Some Israelis are suing the state after receiving what they claim were erroneous messages from the Israeli Ministry of Health telling them to enter quarantine for having come into contact with known coronavirus patients, Channel 12 reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, the plaintiffs allege that they were nowhere near any known patients, and that their need to be in quarantine would cause them serious financial damage as a result of their not being able to work.
One plaintiff claimed that on the date that he allegedly spent the night in the same room as a person infected with COVID-19, he was asleep in his own home. Another lives in London; therefore, he could not have been in the proximity of a patient in Israel.
More than 30,000 Israelis received such messages over the weekend, based on Shin Bet tracking technology. The Health Ministry subsequently issued apologies to members of the public who were mistakenly instructed to enter quarantine, Ynet reported on Wednesday.
Last week, the Knesset approved a bill temporarily authorizing the Shin Bet to monitor the cell phones of civilians known to be infected with the coronavirus. The bill passed its third and final reading with 51 Knesset members supporting it and 38 opposed.
The new legislation establishes a temporary arrangement, valid until July 22, allowing the Shin Bet to use advanced technology normally employed to track terrorists. In this instance, it will be used to locate either known coronavirus carriers that the Health Ministry is having difficulty finding or “for broader use any time that the number of infections the day before rose to at least 200 people.”
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