Netanyahu back in quarantine after health minister tests positive for corona

The prime minister will be in quarantine at least until next Wednesday, the eve of Passover.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

No sooner had Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu come out of quarantine after being exposed to a coronavirus carrier than he was forced back into isolation when Health Minister Yaakov Litzman tested positive for the disease, a spokesman said Thursday.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu entered quarantine until next Wednesday, following the announcement that the Minister of Health is infected with the cronavirus and based on the recommendations of the prime minister’s personal doctor and of the Ministry of Health,” Netanyahu spokesman Ofir Gendelman tweeted.

Netanyahu had just come out of quarantine Wednesday night after one of his staff members was discovered last week to be infected, and will spend the next week working out of his residence and holding meetings via phone and video conferencing.

The Health Ministry announced late Thursday that Litzman and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus. He and Netanyahu have appeared together multiple times at press conferences over the duration of the corona crisis and been in close proximity in cabinet and other meetings.

The health minister had no symptoms and was in quarantine while continuing to work, a health ministry statement said.

The discovery that Litzman had the virus sent other top officials into quarantine including Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov and the head of public health, Prof. Sigal Sadecki, Ynet reported.

National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Yossi Cohen, the head of the Mossad spy agency, will spend three days in isolation having met with Litzman early last week. The Mossad is helping the government find suppliers for urgently needed medical equipment including ventilator machines.

Also working from quarantine is the commander of Israel’s armed forces. IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi tested negative for the virus, but is staying alone in his office after meeting with an officer who was later found to be infected.