Coronavirus: Bibi Self-Quarantines After Aide Tests Positive

  • A statement from the Prime Minister's office indicates the self-quarantine is only precautionary.
  • Yesterday, it was announced that the adviser, Rivka Paluch, had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • At the moment, the effects of the coronavirus in Israel are much more moderate than in Europe.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to self-quarantine on Monday after one of his aides tested positive for coronavirus. In a statement, Netanyahu’s office clarified that the quarantine decision was merely precautionary, as Netanyahu hadn’t come into any recent contact with the ailing aide.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

The preliminary assessment is that there is no need for the Prime Minister to be quarantined, as he did not come into close contact with the individual and did not personally meet with that person,” the statement read. “Over the past two weeks the two were never in the same room at the same time,” it added. “Before the epidemiological investigation was completed and to dispel any doubts, the prime minister decided that he and his close staff would be in confinement until (tests) were completed,” read a statement from the Israel premier’s office.

Yesterday, it was announced that the adviser, Rivka Paluch, had tested positive for COVID-19. It was not clear, however, if in recent days she had been in direct contact with the Prime Minister. At first, sources in the prime minister’s office denied that he was to be confined, since he had not participated in meetings with her in the last fifteen days. Instead, Netanyahu opted for voluntary self-isolation.

Coronaviruses are species of virus belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales. There are seven known strains of human coronaviruses, including COVID-19.

Netanyahu is currently immersed in ongoing negotiations with his one-time arch-rival, and now apparent ally, Benny Gantz. The leaders of Likud and the Israel Resilience Party, respectively, decided last week to begin negotiations over a national unity government to face the pandemic in the country.  Israel has witessed more than a year of political stagnation, and three successive legislative elections, without an official Prime Minister in office.

At the moment, the effects of the coronavirus in Israel are much more moderate than in Europe, with 4,695 cases, of which 66 are in serious condition. Of these, 54 are connected to ventilators, ncluding a 20-year-old who had no pre-existing conditions. Sixteen people in Israel have died, while 134 have reported recovery from coronavirus. However, infections continue to rise, and the nation’s hospitals are overcrowded.

According to a report by the Knesset Research and Information Center, Israel has 758 ICU beds available and 1,437 ventilators in the country’s 44 general hospitals. The Jerusalem Post newspaper recently reported that the nation’s Health department had started the purchase of one thousand more ventilators.

Israel has, in the recent days, made severe restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the outbreak. The streets of Israel have been practically empty since the government decreed strict confinement last Wednesday, which limits the movement of citizens to a maximum of one hundred meters from their home. Non-essential stores are closed and, people are only allowed to go out to make purchases, go to the pharmacy or receive medical treatment.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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