JERUSALEM — Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s former prime minister, tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, according to a statement from his conservative Likud party.
A party spokesman, Yonatan Ulrich, said in the statement that Netanyahu, 72, “feels well” and was acting in accordance with the country’s coronavirus guidelines. The former prime minister was in parliament on Wednesday morning before being told he had tested positive in a routine PCR test, according to Mr Ulrich.
Under Guidelines from the Ministry of HealthNetanyahu must now remain in solitary confinement for at least five days and conduct rapid home tests on the fourth and fifth nights of solitary confinement. If the results of both tests are negative and no symptoms have appeared for 48 hours, Mr. Netanyahu will be able to be released from solitary confinement at the end of Day 5. A positive result would require him to remain in solitary confinement until the end of day 7.
Israel is just emerging from a fifth wave caused by the Omicron variant of the virus, which has seen confirmed cases climb to nearly 100,000 a day in the country. That number has now fallen to a daily average of around 6,500 new cases.
Mr. Netanyahu received four vaccines, according to Mr. Ulrich. In January, Israel began offering fourth vaccines to people aged 60 and over as the country braced for a wave of infections with the highly contagious variant of Omicron.
Israel lifted many of its remaining Covid restrictions on March 1, including ending restrictions on gatherings, opening the country to unvaccinated tourists and eliminating the need to present digital proof of vaccination to enter restaurants and the most other places.
Another member of the Israeli parliament – Shirly Pinto, of the small right-wing Yamina party led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett – said on Twitter Wednesday that she, too, had tested positive for the virus. She said she was the 61st lawmaker in Parliament to have been infected, although she did not specify which period she was referring to.
Parliament has 120 seats, but two elections in the country since March 2020 have changed the composition of the chamber during the pandemic. Asked about the number of lawmakers who had been infected in the current Parliament, a parliamentary spokesman, Uri Michael, replied: “Sorry, we don’t count.
Mr Netanyahu served as prime minister from 2009 to 2021 after serving a three-year term in the 1990s, making him the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history. He is now the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
Alongside his parliamentary role, Netanyahu is battling corruption charges in an ongoing trial in the Jerusalem District Court. He was charged with bribery, breach of trust and fraud in three separate cases in 2019, accused of providing lucrative official favors to wealthy businessmen in return for material gifts like expensive cigars and champagne , and less tangible freebies like control over his coverage. and his family in a major media outlet.
An increasingly polarizing figure as he clung to power, Netanyahu led Israel through four tumultuous election cycles in two years. Unable to form a majority coalition after the last elections in March 2021, he was eventually replaced by Mr Bennett.
On Wednesday, Mr. Bennett, a former political ally who served in several Netanyahu-led governments, wished Mr. Netanyahu, who is now a bitter rival, a speedy and full recovery. write on twitter“Feel good!”