05:39 GMT03 April 2020
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    The Israel Police announced that, for the first time amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak, it has filed charges against an individual who broke quarantine.

    The police force announced Wednesday that it will file charges against one individual who defied an ordered quarantine and exited their home at least three times in the past three days, reported the Times of Israel.

    Police are seeking to have the indicted individual remain behind bars - with no chance of bail - until their court proceedings conclude in the case.

    An Israel Police spokesperson announced that another 86 cases have been opened regarding individuals suspected of breaking quarantines. According to the official, at least a dozen people are being investigated for spreading misinformation about the novel coronavirus pandemic.

    While the country has not ordered a full lockdown, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged citizens to take the global pandemic created by COVID-19 seriously.

    “This isn’t child’s play, it’s not summer vacation, it’s a matter of life and death,” he said Tuesday, as reported by the Times of Israel.

    The outlet reported that some 150 ultra-Orthodox Jews had defied the Health Ministry’s orders concerning public gatherings and held a wedding in the city of Beit Shemesh on the same day as Netanyahu’s address to the country. Guidelines previously imposed in Israel had limited gatherings to no more than 10 individuals.

    Citing Hebrew-language website Behadrei Hardeim, the Times of Israel noted that at least four individuals were arrested following the service, including an American who traveled to Israel from the US and was supposed to be in quarantine.

    Despite the crackdown against those who are disobeying the Health Ministry’s orders and other advisories, Netanyahu said Tuesday that there are no immediate plans to impose a total lockdown.

    "The transition of the public sector to the format of the state of emergency. The private sector is switching to a reduced format. State services - in the full format,” the prime minister said. “We do not lock people at home. I’m not talking about a total lockdown; I hope we will not get to this.”

    According to the World Health Organization’s March 17 report, at least 250 Israelis have contracted COVID-19, and at least 50 have died from the contagious disease. However, the Health Ministry’s news releases cite novel coronavirus cases ranging up to 288 as of this article’s publication.


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