As Israel suffered its 16th death from the coronavirus on Monday evening with 4,695 people infected, the Health Ministry is considering to require the public to where surgical masks when going outside.

Until now, the Health Ministry viewed masks as mainly a benefit to prevent sick people from spreading the virus by coughing, but now senior medical officials see masks as providing partial protection, according to a Ynet report.

The medical officials also say that many infected people do not show symptoms and are not aware they have the virus, so the masks can help prevent these people from spreading the virus if they coughed or sneezed.

In addition, according to the report, Asian countries have attributed their success in preventing more infections of coronavirus by having the public wear masks.

Separately, the defense ministry is planning to use software from the Israeli high-tech spy company NSO to analyze mobile phone data in order to find people likely infected with the virus, according to a Reuters report on Monday.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said the use of the new program would require cabinet approval. The government already is using its intelligence technology to track people’s locations in order to help figure out who may have the virus.

A source told Reuters that testing is underway of the NSO program by 15 governments in the world.

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