Chief rabbi: Entering hospital on Shabbat OK despite automatic thermometer

Earlier ruling by senior ultra-Orthodox rabbis stated that entry into hospital even with automatic temperature sensors was banned, apart from in life threatening situations.

SEPHARDI CHIEF Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef has ruled that it is permitted to go to the hospital on Shabbat when an automatic temperature reading is taken at the entrance to the building as part of checks to prevent COVID-19 carriers spreading the disease.
His ruling comes following a decision to the contrary last week by five senior ultra-Orthodox rabbis.
The direct use of electricity on Shabbat is forbidden by Jewish law, but Yosef seemingly believes this case to be an exception, and opposed the stringent ruling of the five rabbis forbidding entrance to hospitals even with automatic temperature sensors, albeit without directly referencing their ruling.
In notifications published in ultra-Orthodox newspapers last week, rabbis Sriel Rozenberg, Shevach Tzvi Rosenblat, Yitzhak Mordechai Hacohen Rubin, Shalom Yosef Gelber and Menachem Mendel Lubin instructed people not to go to hospital on Shabbat unless in life threatening situations, due to the possibility that they may violate the laws of Shabbat even when automatic temperature devices are used.
Rozenberg is the head of the renowned rabbinical court of the late Rabbi Nissim Karelitz in Bnei Brak, Rosenblat is the chief municipal rabbi of Bnei Brak and Rubin is also a senior rabbinical judge in the Karelitz rabbinical court.
In their ruling, the five rabbis said that both manual and automatic temperature readings were forbidden whether when entering hospitals, hotels or other similar places apart from life threatening situations.
Automatic temperature checks were forbidden, they said, because they generate electronic activity and cause a readout to be displayed on a screen or display board.
They said that the best way around this problem was by employing non-Jews to manually take people’s temperature, which would mean that people could enter hospital even for situations that were not life threatening.
Yosef ruled, however, that when automatic thermometers are used, such as thermal cameras stationed at some hospital entrances, an individual can go to the hospital for all medical reasons, emergency and non-emergency, and even just to visit the sick.
Additionally, if temperature readings are done manually by a non-Jew with a digital thermometer, Yosef ruled that someone who is ill and in need of medical help can enter a hospital even in a situation that is not life threatening
“When someone is walking and going on his way and has no intent or interest in being filmed or having his temperature measured, it is permissible,” ruled Yosef.