• Thu. Dec 7th, 2023

Bennett Tests Positive for COVID after Unmasked Meeting with Blinken

Mar 29, 2022

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett disclosed that the premier had tested positive for the coronavirus. It was further stated that the prime minister was doing well and would continue to work from home. Not long after the announcement, it was discovered that Police Chief Kobi Shabtai had also gotten a positive coronavirus test. On Sunday evening, both Shabtai and Bennett had gone to the city of Hadera for attending a situational assessment. This was because of a terror attack that took the lives of two Border Officers, which was conducted by the Islamic State terror group. 

The officially released photograph of the visit showed that Bennett had been wearing a mask, but in at least one photo, Shabtai had not been wearing it. On the same day, the prime minister also had a meeting with the Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, in the city of Jerusalem. Pictures of the meeting showed that Bennett had not been wearing a mask. After his meeting with the premier, Blinken had then had talks with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority President. He had then flown to the south of Israel to meet with the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco and the UAE as well as Foreign Minister of Israel, Yair Lapid, for the Negev Summit. 

As far as the prime minister himself is concerned, he is scheduled for an official visit to India on Saturday. It remained unclear for now if his plans would remain unchanged now that he has gotten a positive test result. Earlier this month, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister of Israel and the leader of the opposition, had also contracted the virus. He shared wishes of good health for Naftali Bennett, his political rival. Netanyahu tweeted that health was before everything else and wished the premier a full recovery. 

Bennett had also wished the opposition leader the same when he had tested positive. The announcement of the Israeli premier testing positive comes as the country is experiencing a surge in new infections once more. This resurgence is partly because of the BA.2 variant of Omicron, which is more infectious. However, the number of people in serious condition has remained steady. On Monday morning, the Health Ministry disclosed the latest statistics, which showed that 15,596 people had tested positive for COVID-19 a day earlier. 

This was out of the 99,385 tests that had been conducted. The Health Ministry figures further showed that the total number of active cases of COVID-19 in Israel were 65,799 and the number of serious cases stood at 290. Of these, there are 135 patients who are critical, with 20 of them connected to ECMO machines, while 114 are intubated. There are also 420 patients who are in the hospital because of mild condition and 69 due to moderate condition. The ‘R’ number, also called the transmission number, has declined to 1.28 now, after it had climbed to 1.4 in the last few days. The death toll in the country has reached 10,485. 

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