Netanyahu aide has coronavirus but Israel PM exposure unlikely, officials say

JERUSALEM (REUTERS) – An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tested positive for coronavirus but initial findings indicate she had not posed an infection risk to the 70-year-old leader, officials said on Monday (March 30).

As a routine precaution, they said Mr Netanyahu was scheduled to undergo a coronavirus test by Tuesday. A previous test, on March 15, found the premier to be negative.

Israel’s Health Ministry regulations generally require 14-day self-isolation for anyone deemed to have been in proximity with a carrier.

Israeli media had said the aide was present at a parliament session last week attended by Mr Netanyahu as well as opposition lawmakers with whom he is trying to build an emergency coalition government to help address the coronavirus crisis.

“The preliminary assessment is that there is no need for the PM to self-isolate as he was not in close contact with the patient, nor did he meet with her,” an Israeli official said.

Israel has reported 4,347 cases and 15 fatalities. With the Health Ministry warning that the dead could eventually number in the thousands, Mr Netanyahu was due on Monday to convene officials on Monday to discuss a proposed lockdown of some of the country.

The Israeli official said Mr Netanyahu has been following medical advice and holding most meetings by video-conference.

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