image Photo: Flash90

Lapid tests positive for COVID

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, but said he was otherwise in good health.

By Erin Viner

“I feel great because I am vaccinated. Go get vaccinated, put on a mask, we will get through this together,” he wrote on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The leader of the Yesh Atid political party, which is the largest in Israel’s coalition government, is isolating at home.

He later posted a video taken prior to entering isolation showing is interaction with medical personnel, in which he expressed gratitude for their care “on this particular day, as well as every other day of the year!”

Stressing that “There are no simple solutions to complex problems” and that the coronavirus is indeed a “complex epidemic,” Lapid wrote that “The government treatment is not perfect and cannot be perfect,” but that “the good of the citizens” is its “one purpose.” He emphasized that in comparison with “the absolute majority of the countries of the world,” Israel’s situation remains “good” in terms of “both the economy and health.”

Lapid, who also serves as Israel’s Alternate Premier, continued to urge citizens to exercise responsibility by being vaccinated and wearing masks, calling on the country to “work together to deal with the pandemic.”

As the main architect in forming Israel’s ruling coalition, Lapid is slated to take over as premier next year in a rotation agreement with serving Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Bennett, who was seated at the Knesset on Sunday alongside his coalition partner, was seen smiling and replacing his mask after Lapid coughed.  The Prime Minister subsequently tested negative on an antigen test.

Putting aside political rivalry, Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted tweeted, “Wishing a full recovery for Foreign Minister Yair Lapid,” adding “Health comes before all.”

About 30 Knesset Members out of the overall body of 120 have recently been confirmed as positive for COVID-19, including Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev and Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll.

There are currently 222,877 active coronavirus cases in Israel, 2669 of which have been diagnosed since midnight. According to the latest Ministry of Health data, there has been a 93.1% increase of the infection over the past week. 12 more victims have died of the disease, bringing the overall death toll among Israel’s total 9.4 million population since outbreak of the pandemic to 8,274.