Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his family have reportedly tested negative for the coronavirus, despite coming into limited contact with his parliamentary adviser, Rivka Paluch, who contracted the deadly virus.
Netanyahu did not spend enough time with Paluch, however, the Israel PM and his staff temporarily isolated themselves until the end of an epidemiological study. Netanyahu said at the press conference that he did so intentionally in order to set an example for the public.
His office said that Health Ministry professionals were carrying out a meticulous study to determine what needs to be done next. The first signs of the study showed that there is no need for Netanyahu to enter quarantine because he did not meet with Paluch and did not come into close contact with her.
The prime minister’s spokesperson, Shir Cohen, later on, Monday evening clarified that Netanyahu would stay in self-quarantine for now, according to Health Ministry directives.
According to Health Ministry instructions, a person in home isolation must stay the entire time in a “separate, well-ventilated room with a closed door,” which he or she is only allowed to leave if necessary, and only “for very short periods.”
While it is uncertain how long Israel PM — who at age 70 is deemed a member of a high-risk group should he catch the Covid-19 — will remain in quarantine. But as Monday’s broadcast demonstrated, it’s more or less business as usual for Netanyahu
Meanwhile, the number of Israelis infected with the coronavirus as on Tuesday morning, IST was 4695 with 16 fatalities.
The continued rise in Covid-19 cases came as a Health Ministry official reportedly warned that Israel needed to prepare for a situation in which 5,000 people infected with the virus needed ventilators. “This is a difficult scenario, but we can endure it,” Dr. Vered Ezra, head of medical management at the ministry, was quoted as saying by Channel 12 news in a briefing.
According to a report prepared last week for the Knesset’s Special Committee on Dealing with the Coronavirus, there are at most 1,437 ventilators in the country still available to treat patients. The Health Ministry disputed that figure, saying there were 2,864 available ventilators.
There have been growing concerns there may not be enough ventilators to treat all of the most seriously ill, leaving doctors with life and death decisions on whom to keep alive.
Israelis were urged starting last Wednesday to confine themselves to their homes unless they are taking part in a small number of approved activities, including buying food or medicine or taking a short walk no more than 100 meters. Those found violating those regulations are subject to fines or imprisonment.