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Israel police investigating 21 people suspected of violating isolation orders

(JTA) — Israeli police have launched criminal investigations of 21 residents who are suspected of violating the terms of their mandated isolation to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Most on the list are citizens who are believed to have been observed outside their homes during the 14-day period after their return from a foreign country. Israel requires anyone returning from abroad to remain isolated for that amount of time before they are free to leave if they do not display symptoms.

On Friday, one such person was detained at a train station in Tel Aviv after obstructing the work of security personnel, who called police. They learned the man was supposed to be in isolation, Ynet reported.

Most of the 21, however, have only been flagged and warned but not interviewed by police — that might expose the officers to the virus, the report said. The investigations will progress when they can be summoned to police safely.

One man was convicted in a plea bargain of endangering others because he appeared to sneeze deliberately at Health Ministry inspectors who interrogated him on his adherence to isolation regulations following his return from Thailand to his home in Ramle, near Tel Aviv.

Police officers visited event halls and restaurants to make sure they are below the 100-patron limit imposed on places of gathering by the government last week. Most of the 200 businesses monitored respected the threshold, but 14 were found to be in violation and some were closed down.