Spying a bug, Mossad chief to self-isolate after Israel's health minister tests positive for coronavirus

Spying a bug, Mossad chief to self-isolate after Israel's health minister tests positive for coronavirus
2 min read
02 April, 2020
Israeli health minister Yaakov Litzman became the most senior official in the country to have tested positive for COVID-19.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held meetings with the minister over the past month [Getty]
Israel's health minister, who has had frequent contact in recent weeks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, his office said on Thursday, forcing many top Israeli officials into isolation.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, 71, tested positive for COVID-19, making him the most senior Israeli official to have contracted the virus. Litzman's wife also tested positive. Both have been quarantined and are receiving treatment.

Following Litzman's diagnosis, Israeli health ministry staff, including director-general Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, have gone into isolation and will continue working from home.

The chief of Israel's Mossad agency, the head of the National Security Council and the leader of the Hassidic community to which Litzman belongs have also been advised to self-isolate, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who held coronavirus-related meetings with Litzman over the past month, has been informed of the minister's diagnosis.

Israel has gone into near lockdown to try to contain the virus outbreak.

Read also: Coronavirus under occupation: Israeli forces demolish emergency health clinic for Palestinians

Israel's large, insular Ultra-Orthodox community, of which Litzman is a member, has been particularly hard hit by infections. In the early phases of the outbreak, some rabbis had pushed back or ignored government-mandated movement restrictions, but resistance appears to have diminished.

Israel has reported just over 6,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 26 people have died.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected