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Israel health minister, wife contract coronavirus

Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman [Reuven Frizi/Wikimedia]
Israeli Health Minister, Yaakov Litzman on 24 November 2017 [Reuven Frizi/Wikimedia]

Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, his office said late yesterday.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said the 71-year-old minister and his wife are feeling well, receiving medical care and will remain in isolation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was informed of the development, the statement added.

Litzman, the most senior Israeli official to be diagnosed with the virus, will continue to carry out his duties from his home.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus has risen to 26 in Israel, according to the Health Ministry.

READ: Israel opens first psychiatric ward for coronavirus patients

After first appearing in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 176 countries and regions.

The global death toll from the virus has hit 46,809 with 932,605 confirmed cases and 193,177 recoveries, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.

The coronavirus attacks the respiratory tract with the potential to cause pneumonia and death.

Despite its severity, most people experience mild symptoms and recover, but the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are particularly vulnerable to the virus.

READ: PLO calls for Palestinian prisoners to be released by Israel

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