Turkey to track citizens via mobile phones to enforce coronavirus quarantines

People wear protective masks look on in a bus in Ankara, on April 6, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 08 April 2020

Turkey to track citizens via mobile phones to enforce coronavirus quarantines

  • Turkey will start tracking citizens and send them a message and call them each time they leave their homes
  • They will be asked to return home and police will penalise those who continue to violate quarantine rules

ISTANBUL: Turkey will monitor the mobile phones of those diagnosed with the new coronavirus to ensure they do not break quarantine, authorities said on Wednesday, marking the latest measure to stem an outbreak that has surged over the last month.
Turkey will start tracking citizens and send them a message and call them each time they leave their homes, the presidency's Communications Directorate said.
They will be asked to return home and police will penalise those who continue to violate quarantine rules, it said, adding that Turkish law allows for processing of personal data without consent for "exceptional aims".
Since the first one was confirmed on March 11, Turkey's coronavirus cases have surged to more than 34,000 with 725 deaths as of Tuesday.
Ankara has taken strict measures to limit social contact, quarantining some towns, banning mass prayers, closing schools, bars and restaurants and limiting inter-city travel.
President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called on citizens to impose their own quarantine but stopped short of imposing a broad stay-at-home order.
China, Singapore, South Korea and other countries have asked residents to use apps and other technology to track their compliance with quarantines, but privacy activists argue such measures can compromise individual liberties.
The European Union is drawing up common rules for using mobile apps to track the spread of the virus, aiming to make better use of the technology and address privacy concerns.
The directorate said Turkey's government will ensure that the personal data collected will not be used for any other aim.


Israel sends first delegation to Sudan since normalization

Updated 20 min 34 sec ago

Israel sends first delegation to Sudan since normalization

  • Israeli army radio reported Monday that the trip was under way
  • Sudan was the third Arab country this year to announce a deal with Israel

JERUSALEM: Israel on Monday sent a delegation to Sudan, its first since last month’s announcement of normalization of relations between the two countries, a senior Israeli official said.
For days there have been rumors in Jerusalem that a delegation would visit Khartoum in the wake of the accord announced by US President Donald Trump on October 23.
Israeli army radio reported Monday that the trip was under way.
The Israeli official confirmed the report to AFP but declined to say who was in the delegation.
Sudan was the third Arab country this year to announce a deal with Israel, after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in February in Uganda with Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council.
In August, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled on the first official direct flight from Tel Aviv to Khartoum.
The normalization agreement came a year after the fall of president Omar Al-Bashir’s regime and as the transitional authorities in Khartoum drew closer to the United States.
It followed on the heels of Sudan depositing $335 million in a special account to compensate survivors and relatives of victims of the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by Al-Qaeda.
The attacks, which Bashir had welcomed, had killed more than 200 people.
After the money was deposited Trump formally moved to delist Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism.