Israel: People who violate coronavirus self-quarantines could face years in prison


The Israeli government is warning residents who’ve recently arrived from parts of Asia that they could up to seven years in prison if they violate a mandatory home quarantine over concerns they could be carrying the coronavirus.

Israelis returning from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and Singapore are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, The Times of Israel reported. Anyone who came in close contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient is also required to isolate themselves.

The quarantine doesn’t apply to travelers who had connecting flights from the specified locations. No COVID-19 infections have been confirmed in Israel.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits an observation tent at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer for discussions about the coronavirus, in Ramat Gan, Israel on Wednesday. Doctors can monitor patients that have been in contact with the virus from the tent. (Heidi Levine/Pool via AP).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits an observation tent at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer for discussions about the coronavirus, in Ramat Gan, Israel on Wednesday. Doctors can monitor patients that have been in contact with the virus from the tent. (Heidi Levine/Pool via AP).

“The Health Ministry sees members of the public that have been requested to isolate themselves as full partners in preventing the spread of the disease in Israel,” a health ministry statement said. “We’re sure they will show responsibility toward their family members, friends, and toward sick and frail people in society, and reduce the risk of infections.”

The ministry said Thursday that those who knowingly violate the required isolation will face seven years in prison and those who do so out of negligence will face up to three years.

Like other nations, Israel has put in place tough measures to prevent the illness from spreading. Worldwide, more than 2,000 people have died and over 75,000 been infected. The majority of cases are in China, where it first began in December.

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On Monday, Israel announced it would refuse entry foreign nationals who traveled to Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau within a two-week period. A similar restriction on foreign nationals traveling from China was implemented last month, according to the newspaper.

Thai officials called on Israel to reconsider the ban on its citizens.

“We believe that Israel will reconsider the decision as Thailand isn’t the only country affected from the announcement,” Ministry Deputy Spokesman Natapanu Nopakun said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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