Israel health minister tests positive for Covid-19, deputy enters quarantine

Litzman will enter isolation after testing positive. The Health Ministry’s Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov will also go into isolation as a precaution.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus, the Health Ministry announced late Wednesday.

Litzman “will continue to maintain a regular agenda from his home, in line with medical recommendations,” said the statement.

On Thursday morning, the Health Ministry announced that its director general, Moshe Bar Siman Tov, will also enter self-isolation. He will be quarantined in a special installation which includes a work space and appropriate means of communication.

“We prepared for this possibility and we arranged for it appropriately. I’ll continue to lead in this event together with associates in the leadership through digital means,” said Bar Siman Tov.

“Control over the event will continue. The need to enter [isolation] can happen to all of us and it’s our obligation to obey the rules. From here I continue to call to the citizens of Israel to keep the guidelines of the Health Ministry.”

Bar Siman Tov has become the face of the government’s medical efforts to stem the spread of the virus, often appearing on TV after the prime minister. He has generally received high marks from the public as a calming and authoritative voice during the crisis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also entered quarantine this week after one of his aides was diagnosed with corona. He tested negative. He is now waiting epidemiological tests concerning Litzman. The Health Ministry is tracing Litzman’s whereabouts for the last two weeks.

Ynet reports that a cabinet meeting took place last Friday but that Litzman wasn’t present. However the two met on Sunday March 19. They may have met in private meetings afterwards, the report says.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi also went into isolation this week after one of his commanders tested positive. Tests came back negative for the Army chief on Wednesday.