Israel uses GPS texts to check quarantine

Coronavirus infection numbers have been surging in Israel since mid-June.
Coronavirus infection numbers have been surging in Israel since mid-June.

In view of the rising number of coronavirus infections, Israel is to use text messages and GPS to check that travellers returning from countries with particularly high incidence rates are complying with quarantine rules.

People would receive a text message with a link and click on it to share their GPS coordinates with the authorities during the week-long quarantine, a spokesman for Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev explained on Monday.

Those who do not click on the link would receive control visits from police as before, the spokesman said.

In addition, only travellers are allowed into the large departure building of Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv.

Companions must remain outside, the airport authority confirmed.

Picking up travellers is also no longer permitted in the building.

Since mid-June, infection numbers in Israel have been massively rising.

According to official information, this trend was probably initially triggered by returnees from abroad who broke their quarantine.

The health ministry reported 1398 new infections on Monday from the day before.

The number of seriously ill people rose to 108 but there were no new deaths.

Most of the new cases are linked to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, according to official data.

More than 57 per cent of the country's 9.3 million inhabitants are already fully vaccinated.

The vaccination campaign in Israel was very successful, especially at the beginning, when it progressed quickly.

After a certain stagnation, it recently gained momentum again due to the new increase in cases.

Australian Associated Press