“We want to locate those who have been around infected or contagious people so that they cannot spread the disease,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday, urging the development of a digital app to achieve that goal.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Israel has seen 450 corona cases in the last 24 hours. It’s the highest 24-hour rise since April 12.
The number of sick stands at 5,392 with 45 in serious condition and 28 on ventilators.
Israeli authorities have clamped down on areas that have been identified as hotspots, increased the fine from 200 to 500 shekels for those not wearing masks in public and halted further loosening of the economy in an effort to stop the health situation from spiraling.
“We want to locate those who have been around infected or contagious people so that they cannot spread the disease,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting Wednesday.
“I have asked to accelerate the development of the digital application that is designed to achieve this goal. This will take time – weeks and I hope not months. Until then we are seeking to complete the legislation on the use of the digital tools of the ISA. We are monitoring this with ‘on’ and ‘off’ switches. I hope that we will not have to activate it.
“While it could be that we will stop the disease and flatten the curve even before the legislation is completed, we want to be in a situation in which we could use this tool if we wanted to,” he continued. “Therefore, I have convened this meeting.
“You know that the morbidity crossed the 400 mark yesterday and unfortunately, it shows signs of constantly increasing. If needed, this tool, which will be fully monitored, will serve us in stopping the spread of the pandemic.”
Nadav Argaman, head of the Shin Bet, opposes the move as he says it would expose the agency’s methods. However, a growing number of ministers support the idea.
Israel’s National Center for Information and Knowledge in the Battle Against the Coronavirus says that the situation in ultra-Orthodox, or haredi, communities is worse than among the general population.
Approximately 14 percent of all new patients were identified in cities with large haredi populations, including Bnei Brak, Elad, Beitar Illit, Modiin Illit and Beit Shemesh.
When taking into account haredi neighborhoods in other cities, the number of new patients from the ultra-Orthodox sector rises to 20 percent of all new cases. The haredi lifestyle is strongly community-based, involving more human interactions, likely explaining the higher-than-average percentage.
However, secular Tel Aviv has also seen its share of cases. In the last three days, 48 cases were identified in the city, whose residents have been lax in following health guidelines since the lockdown was lifted. There is also a high incidence of the disease reported among African illegals, who reside mainly in south Tel Aviv.
On Saturday evening, the National Coronavirus Center released a statement saying, “Israel is entering a second wave of the coronavirus illness and we have to take immediate and urgent steps connected to enforcement and to stopping the loosening [of regulations] in order to prevent the need for another lockdown a month from now.”
“The number of new daily infected will reach within a month more than a 1,000 and the number of dead to many hundreds,” the center said.