Netanyahu asks for “measures that may violate privacy” to confront Corona


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Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel intends to use tracking technology applied to fight terrorism and impose a partial closure of the economy from Sunday to reduce the risks of transmission of the Corona virus.

Netanyahu said at a news conference that the deployment of technological surveillance tools to locate other people who have been infected with the virus still needs government approval.

“We will soon start using technology … digital means that we use to combat terrorism,” he said, adding that he sought the approval of the Ministry of Justice because such measures may violate the privacy of patients.

In tightening the precautionary measures, the occupation government announced that the commercial centers, hotels, restaurants and theaters will be closed as of Sunday, adding that the employees will have to not go to their workplaces except in case of necessity, while vital services, pharmacies, supermarkets and banks will continue to work.

Health officials urged people to keep their distances and not to gather more than ten people in one room.

The Israeli Internal Security Agency, “Shin Bet,” confirmed that it was studying the use of its technological capabilities to fight the Corona pandemic at the request of Netanyahu and the Ministry of Health.

Avner Pinchuk, a privacy expert at the Civil Rights Association in Israel, said that such capabilities may include a continuous tracking of the phones of infected people to monitor any quarantine breaches and review previous data to find out where they went and who they had contacted.

Netanyahu said that making this choice was not easy, and the virus described it as a “hidden enemy that must be located”, as he made clear that Israel would pursue methods similar to those used in Taiwan.

The Israeli occupation army stated earlier Saturday that it had ordered all its soldiers to return to their bases by Sunday morning.

Last week, Israel imposed on all those coming from abroad to isolate themselves for two weeks, and ordered the closure of schools. Tens of thousands of Israelis are now being quarantined.

The Israeli Ministry of Health said that it had detected 193 cases of the virus without recording any deaths. Many of them have been on international flights in the past two weeks.

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