Israel Approves GPS Monitoring for Omicron Variant Carriers

The Shin Bet tracking program is limited to those who test positive for the new strain of coronavirus

Israel on Sunday approved the emergency use of GPS tracking for those who tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett signed the ordinance after the cabinet of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) agreed to monitor carriers of the newly discovered strain of coronavirus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified as a “variant of concern”.

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The decision is valid until midnight on December 2 and is limited to carriers of Omicron variants and not to persons with proven cases of other Covid-19 strains.

“It should be emphasized that its use is limited to those verified with the new strain and that it is not a wide and extensive use for all verified as it was in the previous waves of disease,” it said it in the declaration.

The program will be reassessed daily and if another outbreak occurs with an increase in morbidity, the pursuit will cease.

The Shin Bet will not be involved in enforcing the quarantine rules.

Ministers Eli Avidar, Gideon Sa’ar, Yifat Shasha-Biton and Orna Barbivai were against.

Media reports suggest that the cabinet meeting turned heated during the debate over the reintroduction of GPS tracking, with Avidar accusing Shin Bet head, Ronen Bar, of “falling in love” with this tool earlier used in the pandemic .

Bennett reportedly jumped in Bar’s defense, raised his voice to Avidar, and asked, “Who are you to beat up the Shin Bet’s head?”

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