Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife Chava have been diagnosed with coronavirus and will go into quarantine, the country’s Health Ministry confirmed on Thursday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been informed that Litzman tested positive.
The ministry said Litzman will continue to serve as health minister from home, in accordance with medical recommendations. The 71-year-old leader of Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism is at high risk for developing complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and is being closely monitored.
As per the ministry’s orders, National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, Health Ministry Director Moshe Bar Siman-Tov and several other officials who have been in daily contact with Litzman will be going into self-isolation as well.
As of Wednesday, 6,092 Israelis have been diagnosed with coronavirus, which has so far claimed the lives of 26 patients. Ninety-five people are in serious condition, 81 of whom are intubated. So far, 241 Israelis have recovered from the virus.
The ministry said that 3,201 medical personnel, including 701 doctors and 1,138 nurses, are currently under quarantine. To boost ranks, the ministry has licensed 900 new nurses in an expedited process.
Israel is currently performing 7,000 coronavirus tests a day. Netanyahu has ordered testing to be increased to 10,000 by next week.