In Israel, Public Compliance with Self-Quarantine Order Tied to Compensation

In February 2020, the Israeli government issued emergency rules to contain the spread of COVID-19, ordering individuals considered as exposed to COVID-19 to self-quarantine. This regulation was extended in March to include almost the entire population. In enacting the rules, the country’s health officials hoped that the public would comply with the orders. However, one potential obstacle to compliance is concern over loss of income.

Moran Bodas and Kobi Peleg, both with the Gertner Institute’s Israel National Center for Trauma and Emergency Medicine, report the results of a poll of a randomized sample of Israeli adults to ascertain their willingness to self-quarantine. The survey was conducted during the last week of February 2020, as COVID-19 cases began appearing around the globe. The authors found that when survey respondents were told that compensation for lost wages would be provided, 94 percent said they would comply with a self-quarantine order. However, when lost wage compensation was not provided, the compliance rate dropped to less than 57 percent.

“This study demonstrates that providing people with assurances for their livelihood during self-quarantine is an important component in compliance with public health regulations,” the authors conclude. “Continuous earning is a crucial factor in determining public compliance with public health regulations, in particular self-quarantine.”

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