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Prime Minister’s Office Employee Who Has the Coronavirus May Have Had Contact With Netanyahu

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June 2, 2020
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is surrounded by Likud lawmakers as he gives a press statement ahead of the start of his trial at the District Court in Jerusalem. Netanyahu is being tried on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. May 24, 2020. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An employee in the Prime Minister’s Office has tested positive for COVID-19, which could send Benjamin Netanyahu into self-quarantine for the third time since the start of the global pandemic.

The employee on the prime minister’s technical staff was in the same room as Netanyahu on Saturday, Israel’s Channel 13 reported Monday. He also may have come into contact with Finance Minister Israel Katz and Education Minister Yoav Gallant. All three men participated in a nationally televised address and news conference Saturday evening on dealing with the coronavirus crisis that the employee helped set up.

Quarantine orders could be recommended following an epidemiological investigation now underway, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Health Ministry on Tuesday announced that there had been more than 100 newly diagnosed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and that some additional 3,723 students and teachers were sent into self-quarantine on Tuesday, bringing the total of students and teachers currently in quarantine to 9,935.

Galant announced Monday that he would call on any school with a staff member or student with a confirmed case of COVID-19 to immediately close and send all staff and students to self-quarantine.

Schools in Israel began opening more than two weeks ago after isolating for nearly two months due to the coronavirus.

Israel in recent days has seen a steep increase in the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus, most related to schools. The increases come as Israel continues to relax restrictions that were put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including opening up workplaces, schools and malls.

The Health Ministry on Tuesday also reported two new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total dead in Israel to 287.

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