Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close advisers have been placed under quarantine after an aide on Parliament affairs tested positive for coronavirus, his office said Monday.
The step is a precaution and is being taken even before the epidemiological investigation has been concluded, according to a statement issued by Netanyahu’s office.
“Even before the epidemiological investigation is over and to remove all doubt, the prime minister has decided that he and his close staff will remain in isolation until the epidemiological investigation is completed,” the statement said.
“In accordance with the findings, the health ministry and the personal physician of the Prime Minister will set a day to end the isolation,” it added.
Earlier, Netanyahu’s office said ‘the move was unnecessary’ as the premier had not been in the same room as the concerned adviser, Rivka Paluch, during the last two weeks.
“Likewise, from an initial check, the two were not together in the same room for the past fortnight. The epidemiological investigation is ongoing,” it stressed.
Hebrew language media, however, contradicted these claims. It said that Netanyahu had in fact met with Paluch, along with a reported confirmation from his office.
Paluch, Netanyahu’s adviser on ultra-Orthodox affairs, tested positive hours after her husband was hospitalised with COVID-19. She met with several lawmakers Thursday amid negotiations with Blue and White leader, Benny Gantz, over the formation of a coalition government, according to ‘Channel 12’.
So far, 4,347 Israelis have tested positive for the coronavirus, with the vast majority of cases mild and 134 recoveries. Sixteen patients have died and 95 are in serious condition. One Israeli tourist died in Italy.