Middle East, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Israeli PM's aide tests positive for COVID-19

Rivka Paluch, adviser on ultra-Orthodox affairs, reportedly spent last few days in vicinity of Netanyahu, Knesset members

Hamdi Yildiz and Mustafa Deveci   | 30.03.2020
Israeli PM's aide tests positive for COVID-19


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's adviser on ultra-Orthodox affairs, Rivka Paluch, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, local media reported Monday.

Paluch reportedly spent the last few days “in the vicinity” of Netanyahu, Knesset members and other advisers, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Israeli Channel 12 reported that Netanyahu will act according to the Health Ministry’s guidelines.

Paluch tested positive hours after her husband was hospitalized with the virus, said Channel 12.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will undergo a coronavirus test for a second time after Paluch has tested positive for the disease, according to local media on Monday.

Netanyahu had tested negative for coronavirus after he and his immediate circle underwent tests for the virus on March 15.

In a statement, Netanyahu's office said there is no need to put the Israeli premier in quarantine.

Israeli health authorities have so far confirmed 16 deaths and over 4,300 infections from the virus.

According to the Health Ministry, 80 of the patients are in critical condition and 139 have recovered.

As part of measures to curb the virus, all schools have been closed in the country, all meetings in public, open or closed areas with more than 10 people have also been banned.

All trading firms except supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and banks have also been closed from March 15. Tel Aviv also banned the entry of foreign citizens to the country, except for those who have residency in Israel.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 177 countries and territories, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows over 724,200 cases have been reported worldwide since last December, with the death toll above 34,000 and over 152,000 recoveries.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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