From February 28, the MoH started publishing the flight details and list of places that each infected person passed by day and hour until they were diagnosed and hospitalized, and called on all individuals who were in those places to self-isolate for 14 days. Each diagnosed individual received a patient identification number (e.g. patient number 8) and all details of movement and places s/he frequented were published in the media. There was also a mandatory call for all individuals who were in touch with a diagnosed person, or were in the same places as a diagnosed person, to self-quarantine for 14 days. Although many individuals were quarantined, the testing of potentially infected people was limited to cases with one or more of the following characteristics:
Fever of 38 degrees or above, along with respiratory symptoms
Contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 (contact is defined as a distance of less than 2 meters for at least 15 minutes), or
Returned from abroad (since March 9)
The Ministry of Health actively seeks out cases, in order to quarantine them and their contacts. The MoH instructs all individuals with COVID-19 symptoms not to go to healthcare clinics in person. Instead, health providers should be contacted by phone or digitally (email, HP’s platforms and applications). In addition, symptomatic individuals should contact the Magen David Adom (MDA, Israel's national, ambulance and blood bank service) for guidance on how to receive care. Mobile applications and websites are used to collect spatial data about the whereabouts of people diagnosed as sick, and people whose paths crossed with those who were sick should self-quarantine. There is an assumption of personal responsibility; that those who are requested to quarantine should do so.
On March 5, quarantine calls become ‘official orders’ with sanctions for violators.
On July 22, the Ministry of Health adopted the recommendations from the World Health Organization and shortened the period defined for recovery and isolation (quarantine) for those deemed to have recovered from COVID-19. A general physician (GP) must declare that the patient has recovered in order to release her/him from quarantine.
The new definition classifies COVID-19 patients as healthy as follows:
• A COVID-19 patient with a known date for the beginning of symptoms: 10 days from the appearance of symptoms and further 3 days with no symptoms (total of 13 days minimum). A general physician (GP) is authorized to declare the patient as healthy without requirement of COVID-19 testing.
• A COVID-19 patient without a known date for the beginning of symptoms: GP is authorized to declare the patient healthy 10 days after a positive test result, provided that at least 3 days passed with no COVID-19 symptoms. No additional COVID-19 test is required.
• Asymptomatic COVID-19 patient: GP is authorized to declare the patient healthy 10 days after the positive test result. No additional COVID-19 test is required.