Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, a leading member of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to re-enter precautionary quarantine, officials said Thursday.
Netanyahu’s previous quarantine, imposed earlier this week after one of his staffers tested positive for the novel coronavirus, had ended Wednesday night, his office said.
The premier’s new seven-day self-isolation was imposed following his contacts with the 71-year-old Litzman, the prime minister’s office said.
Litzman of the Gur Hassidic sect — whose wife also tested positive — is the most prominent member of the hard-hit ultra-Orthodox community to test positive for the virus that has infected more than 6,200 Israelis.
“Litzman and his wife feel well, are receiving treatment and will be quarantined and supervised,” a health ministry statement said.
The ministry added that its director-general, Moshe Bar Siman Tov, along with other senior officials, will also enter quarantine following contacts with Litzman.
Israeli media also reported that the head of the Mossad spy agency, Yossi Cohen, may also be compelled to self-isolate after having had contact with Litzman, but that information could not be immediately confirmed.
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