Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife have contracted the coronavirus.
They are now in isolation but said they feel well and are being treated, as the virus forces more top Israeli officials into isolation.
Litzman has had frequent contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who tested negative), who has now returned to self-quarantine because of his contact with Litzman.
Netanyahu had previously been in isolation after a top aide tested positive for the virus.
Israel’s Mossad spy agency and the National Security Council were also asked to self-quarantine because of their interactions with Litzman.
The health ministry’s director and Litzman’s staff also self-quarantined. The ministry said requests to enter isolation will be sent to those who came in contact with the minister in the past two weeks.
Israel has gone into near-lockdown to try to contain the outbreak. The country has reported more than 6,211 confirmed cases and 33 people have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
The government has intensified its restrictions on activity and personal movement overnight on Monday in a series of measures that went into effect on Tuesday at 5 P.M.
The new regulations state that for a week, people are allowed to go out only to buy of food, pharmaceuticals or other “essential needs.”
These essentials are defined as medical or veterinary services, welfare and social services, blood donations, political demonstrations, appearances in court and appearances in the Knesset.
Exercise in open spaces must be done by only two people living in the same for a “short period of time” and limited to 100 meters (330 feet) from one’s home.
The workforce will be reduced to 15 percent down from 30 percent until hitherto.
In workplaces not considered “essential,” no more than 10 workers will be allowed inside at a time.
Public gatherings, including prayers are now totally banned with very specific exceptions for some ceremonies.
Funerals can be held in open spaces with up to only 20 people. Circumcision ceremonies are permitted with up to ten persons.
Featured image: raeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman discuss coronavirus in Israel during a news conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, March 8, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)