The state of Israel continues to struggle to keep its cases of COVID-19 infections low, despite being one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, including the introduction of one of the controversial vaccine passport program that is being used at public venues and that must be “renewed” every six months depending on a fixed schedule.
Airports have routinely monitored passengers’ temperatures by scanning their foreheads with thermometers since the pandemic began last year, but Israeli health officials are now searching for a method that could provide more certainty about whether individuals are infected with the virus or by chance a host to a variant. Yet, it’s way more invasive and way more controversial.
Israel is now planning to conduct high-tech “genetic scanning” on its visitors, the Times of Israel reports. A high-tech screening system is in place at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport, which is considered a major escalation of surveillance and tracking.
During his Sunday cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the deployment plans. However, there are reports that the statement was never meant to be made public; it was leaked to Israeli media.
“We are working on a scanning system for everyone who comes into Israel,” Bennett said. “Israel will thus become the radar for the virus.”
Current details on genetic scanning are not known, as well as whether or not an opt-out procedure is available. Hence, the question arises about how much genetic data a person will have saved.
Consequently, COVID-19 passports – such asIsrael’s “green pass” – could eventually be linked to a mandatory genetic test at international borders. Upon entering Israel, foreign visitors would be required to supply their genetic data, which could be kept indefinitely by the Israeli government.