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Likud minister Gamliel catches COVID-19, feeling well

Environmental protection minister is fourth member of cabinet to contract virus, day after urging Israelis to only mark holiday with immediate family

Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel and Carmel Beach Regional Council head Asaf Izak (right) receive guidance on a drill for a potential oil leak from the Leviathan natural gas platform off Israel's northern Mediterranean coast, September 6, 2020. (Danny Shlomi, EcoOcean)
Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel and Carmel Beach Regional Council head Asaf Izak (right) receive guidance on a drill for a potential oil leak from the Leviathan natural gas platform off Israel's northern Mediterranean coast, September 6, 2020. (Danny Shlomi, EcoOcean)

Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel announced Saturday that she had contracted the coronavirus, the fourth member of Prime Minister Benjamin  Netanyahu’s cabinet to do so.

Gamliel, 46, wrote on Twitter that she tested positive on Saturday but added that she is feeling well and hopes to recover soon.

It was not immediately clear which other senior politicians, if any, would need to quarantine to do coming in close contact with Gamliel, who is the first minister from Netanyahu’s Likud party to catch the virus.

In August, Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata of Blue and White tested positive for the coronavirus. That came weeks after Jerusalem Affairs Minister Rafi Peretz (Jewish Home) was diagnosed with COVID-19. In April, then-health minister Yaakov Litzman of United Torah Judaism was infected with the virus.

On Friday, Gamliel posted a picture of herself and a child in a Sukkah from a year ago with the message, “This year we are celebrating in the sukkah with our close family, so that next year we can go back to hosting people.”

השנה חוגגים בסוכה עם המשפחה המצומצמת, כדי שבשנה הבאה נוכל לשוב ולארח אושפיזין. חג שמח לכל בית ישראל! ????????

Posted by ‎גילה גמליאל – Gila Gamliel‎ on Friday, October 2, 2020

She also posted well wishes for US President Donald Trump and ultra-Orthodox leader Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, both of whom recently announced that they had caught the virus.

Government rules over Sukkot, which began on Friday and lasts a week, prohibit hosting people from outside of your household in a sukkah, a temporary shelter used by many Jews over the holiday.

Officials have sought to crack down on official Sukkot celebrations — which often feature festive meals and large crowds, sometimes packed into small sukkahs — in a bid to clamp down on soaring infection rates.

On Friday, over  7,000 new infections were confirmed, days after the number of daily cases rose above 9,000 for the first time. Saturday saw over 2,200 new infections on drastically lower testing, as is typically for the weekend.

According to Health Ministry data, 1,682 people in Israel have died from the virus since the start of the pandemic.

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