Health Committee: Increase Punishment for Lying About Stay in ‘Red’ Countries

haim katz
MK Chaim Katz. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee approved on Monday the Health Ministry regulations that define the offense of an attempt by a person who returns to Israel after visiting a “red” country to avoid the duty to self-isolate by issuing a false statement. The regulations were submitted to the Knesset on Thursday and automatically went into effect on Sunday.

According to figures presented to the committee by the Population and Immigration Authority, every day some 50 people who return to Israel after visiting a “red” country try to dodge the duty to self-isolate by issuing a false statement saying they did not visit a country that is defined as “red” due to a high coronavirus infection rate.

Addressing the statistics, Committee Chairman MK Chaim Katz (Likud) said he was in favor of increasing the punishment for issuing such false statements. “No one can make a decision that risks the lives of other people,” he said. “There are rules, and they must be followed, because with everything that is related to the coronavirus – we are facing the unknown. We know isolation helps, and we do not want to reach another lockdown.”

Att. Lilach Wagner of the Justice Ministry said, “Usually the difficulty with attempt offenses is proving the intent to commit the offense. Here there is very clear proof that the person lied to avoid quarantine.” She explained that in order to increase deterrence, this must be enforced upon the traveler’s arrival at the airport in Israel.

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