Israeli Health Minister diagnosed with coronavirus

Yaakov Litzman Israel

Jerusalem, April 2 : Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman went into isolation on Thursday after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, his office said, forcing more senior officials into self-quarantine.

Litzman, leader of the Jewish ultra-Orthodox party of United Torah Judaism, is in isolation with his wife who has been infected, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The Minister and his wife feel well and are being treated,” the Health Ministry said in an official statement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had frequent meetings with Litzman, “was updated with the details”, the statement said.

The two were seen side by side during televised remarks eight days ago.

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.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu came out of two-day isolation after one of his advisors was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

As per the latest updates, 6,211 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Israel and 31 have died so far.

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