Israel’s Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman, a leading member of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, tested positive for COVID-19, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to re-enter precautionary quarantine, officials said Thursday.
Netanyahu’s previous quarantine had ended Wednesday night, his office said, levied earlier this week after one of his employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The new seven-day self-isolation of the premier has been imposed after his communications with the 71-year-old Litzman, the office of the prime minister said.
The Gur Hassidic sect’s Litzman — whose wife has also tested positive — is the most influential member of the hard-hit ultra-Orthodox group to test positive for the virus that has infected over 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 after contact with Litzman, their director-general, Moshe Bar Siman Tov, would also enter quarantine along with other senior officials.
Israel’s media also stated that the Mossad Spy Agency’s director, Yossi Cohen, could also be forced to isolate himself after contacting Litzman, but this knowledge could not be verified immediately.