It will also use counter-terrorism phone-tracking technology in order to contain the spread of the Omicron variant.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement that the ban, pending government approval, would last 14 days. Officials hope that within that period there will be more information on how effective Covid-19 vaccines are against Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa and has been dubbed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Our working hypotheses are that the variant is already in nearly every country,” Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked told N12’s “Meet the Press,” “and that the vaccine is effective, although we don’t yet know to what degree.”
Israelis entering the country, including those who are vaccinated, will be required to quarantine, Bennett said. The ban will come into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday. A travel ban on foreigners coming from most African states was imposed on Friday.
The Shin Bet counter-terrorism agency’s phone-tracking technology will be used to locate carriers of the new variant in order to curb its transmission to others, Bennett said.
Used on and off since March 2020, the surveillance technology matched virus carriers’ locations against other mobile phones nearby to determine with whom they had come into contact. Israel’s Supreme Court this year limited the scope of its use after civil rights groups mounted challenges over privacy concerns.
The variant, which has also been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany and Britain, has sparked global concern and a wave of travel curbs, although epidemiologists say such restrictions may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating globally.
Israel has so far confirmed one case of Omicron, with seven suspected cases. The Health Ministry has not said whether the confirmed case was vaccinated. Three of the seven suspected cases were fully vaccinated, the ministry said on Saturday, and three had not returned from travel abroad recently.
Around 57 percent of Israel’s 9.4 million population is fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry, which means they have either received a third shot of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine or it has not yet been five months since they received their second dose.
Israel has recorded 1.3 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 8,000 fatalities since the pandemic began. – Reuters
GPS’s Shameful Sham Election Will Kill Sarawakians
No one need wonder whether the greedy old tyrants of Sarawak and their fawning hangers-on fear the anger of the young whose futures they have stolen. GPS have made clear they are willing to cost the lives of their own people to avoid letting them vote at the state election.
Having called an EMERGENCY on the grounds that Covid would kill people if there was an election in August (as ordered by the constitution) the GPS hierarchy have now rushed to ditch that same Emergency and bring on the vote, despite rising not falling numbers of cases in the state.
The reason? A judgement by the courts that their despicable resistance to implementing the youth vote enacted by Parliament was unlawful and that all those over 18 must be placed on the electoral register by December 31st.
Within hours of that decision GPS was making its moves to ditch the health emergency and rush to the polls. The leader Abang Jo, with the full backing of the doddery billionaire kleptocrat Governor, was on to the palace pleading for the Emergency to be reversed.
The first zoom meeting didn’t go tool well, since the Agong was still on his protracted weeks long holiday in the UK at that time, enjoying the freedoms allowed by genuine democracies which have not treated Covid as an excuse to crack down on people following a coup.
The Deputy Agong in his place made clear to the callers that their request was unconscionable and that he for one would not agree to sign the death warrants of Sarawakians who would inevitably be infected thanks to the GPS campaign.
However, a week or so later and the Agong was finally back with the GPS lobbying for another call. This time they succeeded in persuading the Pahang Sultan and present King that there was good reason to sacrifice the safety of their people for their own political benefit and he scotched the Emergency, thereby sounding the starting gun for the campaign.
And no surprise, the by now panicked old men rushed to push through the vote just before the deadline for allowing young voters to join the register – December 18th! No guesses as to whether these despicable characters have made the effort that decency demands to perform their legal obligation in advance of the last date allowed to them by the court!
The priority was to keep the 130,000 or so young voters who might have swung numerous seats off the register.
There is a clear current example in front these decision-makers with the spike in cases that has erupted in the state of Malacca following on from the recent state election there (which UMNO won thanks a 2.5% lead in the popular votes that gave them around 80% of the seats).
No matter. The wealthy machinery of the state government (the recently departed Deputy Chief Minister who unfortunately died of Covid himself had boasted there was RM31 billion ‘war chest’ to play with) has now gone into motion to make sure GPS exploit their commanding advantage in every way.
Quite apart from the disgraceful move to avoid the youth vote in order to give the rich old kleptocrats another opportunity for a further five years of blatant plunder and abuse of office, there is another shocking failure of duty by GPS that will again risk lives. Again the motive is political advantage for themselves.
Every decent democracy has over the last two years of pandemic expanded the access to non-personal voting measures to maximise the safety of the population. Except Malaysia that is.
The PH government had moved to reform the country’s disgracefully weighted postal voting measures that allowed military personnel and government workers (all under the eye and often instructions of bosses from the ruling coalition) to have postal votes, but not ordinary civilians working in another state. Global Bersih say that the moment the coup government seized power all initiatives to improve voting access for such citizens were stopped.
Stories of military votes being added to top up flagging UMNO/BN constituencies abound, however just as disgraceful is what has been officially published.
Before the last state election the politically controlled Election Commission re-delineated boundaries not to keep up with the changing patterns of populations and migration, which have seen a flood of rural voters move from their decimated homelands to city jobs, but the opposite. Eleven more seats were carved out of already ghosting rural areas to create some constituencies with less than 5,000 voters compared to city seats of 150,000.
The actual number of voters on the ground in such constituencies will be even less given the departure of the young to find work, often on the mainland. Of course, the GPS bullies have no intention whatsoever of allowing those more educated and independent citizens the right to vote by post.
The moment the election was called the cost of travel and airline seats for mainland workers have spiralled ten-fold. There is then the enormous time and cost of inland travel in areas where the government has promised roads for years, but not delivered. And the date, so conveniently too early for the Christmas break for anyone seeking to combine their visits back home, is again perniciously planned.
Thus GPS can bask in the knowledge that there are dozens of seats in distant regions with small, elderly populations that are vulnerable to bullying, misinformation and false promises that can be dragooned by the government employed headmen to vote once again for their henchmen in the party.
The GPS crew have long considered themselves above the law – including the one that says during an election they have no more access to the apparatus of the state than the opposition. They are dripping in stolen wealth as it is, but these politicians will be leaning on every form of abuse from state helicopters to the use of the civil service to facilitate their own campaigning, whilst impoverished opposition parties will struggle to even get up to visit the distant seats where they will often meet with hostility from the paid headmen and be told to go away.
Such is the disgraceful state of Sarawak’s sham election. It took a coup to prevent the reforms Malaysians had so long yearned for and had succeeded in voting for during GE14 when the opposition defied staggering odds to defeat BN. In Sarawak it has always been even harder than elsewhere thanks to the greedy old men of GPS. SARAWAK REPORT
REUTERS / SARAWAK REPORT