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Singer who downplayed pandemic contracts COVID-19

Ofer Levi, 56, says he’s having trouble breathing but denies social media rumors that he is seriously ill

Israeli singer Ofir Levi (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Israeli singer Ofir Levi (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Israeli singer Ofer Levi, who in the past has downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, has contracted COVID-19, according to a television report on Wednesday.

Speaking to Channel 12, Levi denied rumors on social media that he was seriously ill, but admitted “the situation isn’t easy.”

Levi, who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, spoke to the station while lying in bed, saying he was too tired to sit up. He asked fans to pray for his recovery.

“It is difficult for me to breathe and it hurts a little,” he said. “It is exhausting and tiring, [my] breathing is heavy but I am alive and getting over it.”

Screen capture from video of singer Ofer Levi, March 10, 2021. (Channel 12 News)

Under the terms of Israel’s mass inoculation program Levi, 56, would have been eligible to get vaccinated since mid-January. Channel 12 did not ask the singer about the vaccinations.

Levi said he looked forward to returning to the stage in the wake of the recent easing of virus lockdown restrictions that now permit performances under certain conditions.

Last summer Levi had been dismissive of the seriousness of the virus outbreak in Israel and vowed to keep working, Channel 12 reported.

Theaters, concert venues, museums, and other spaces were allowed to host (small) crowds as of the end of last month, as Israel emerged from what it hopes will be its last extended coronavirus lockdown.

In a further move, much of the economy reopened Sunday as the lockdown was further rolled back, including restaurants, cafes, school grades 7-10 in low- to medium-infection areas, event venues, attractions and hotels. Higher education institutions and religious seminaries were opened to vaccinated or recovered people and rules on gatherings and worship were relaxed.

The cabinet also decided to ease restrictions on international travel and sidelined a highly controversial committee that was deciding who could enter or leave the country while the airport remained largely shuttered.

Israel has vaccinated the majority of its adult population and hopes to complete the drive for all Israelis 16 and up by the end of April.

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