Jerusalem, April 2: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday went into isolation for the second time in a week after his Health Minister Yaakov Litzman tested positive for the novel coronavirus. According to the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu, 70, will remain in self-quarantine until April 8 as he had frequent meetings with Litzman, reports Xinhua news agency. Catch Live Updates of Coronavirus Outbreak Here.
The move follows the recommendation of Netanyahu's personal doctor and guidelines of the Health Ministry, the Office added. Litzman, leader of the Jewish ultra-Orthodox party of United Torah Judaism, was in self-isolation with his wife who has also contracted the virus. On Wednesday, Netanyahu completed two-day isolation after one of his advisors was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. Coronavirus Pandemic: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Orders Police to Shoot Quarantine Violators.
In addition, the Health Ministry's Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov, who has been running Israel's efforts to halt the rapid spread of the virus, also went into isolation for his contact with Litzman. He will continue to work and coordinate the efforts from a designated facility in the Sheba Hospital outside Tel Aviv, the Ministry said. Meanwhile, the Hebrew-language Ynet news site reported that Yossi Cohen, chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, has been placed under quarantine for the same reason.
Netanyahu is in a double struggle to halt the spread of the coronavirus and to finalize a coalition government with his main rival, Benny Gantz and his centrist Blue and White party. The longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister was also facing a corruption trial due to open on May 24. According to the most recent official figures, 6,211 have tested positive for the coronavirus in Israel and 31 of them have died.