Israeli finance minister tests positive for coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Israeli cabinet meeting in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks to the media during the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem August 1, 2021. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS

January 15, 2022

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would self-isolate but continue working from home.

“I feel good and will isolate in the next few days,” Lieberman said on Twitter. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tested positive on Monday.

Lieberman has faced some public criticism for not providing more government aid to businesses as the Omicron variant has pushed Israeli infection rates to new highs, keeping many employees in isolation and customers at home.

“I will continue to pursue responsible economic policies from home, keep track of the data and plan future steps,” Lieberman, 63, tweeted in an apparent response to the criticism.

On Jan. 10, Lieberman posted a photo of himself receiving a fourth COVID-19 vaccination dose. Israel began administering a second round of boosters to immune-compromised people in late December, expanding the campaign to its over-60-year-olds and medical staff in January.

The Health Ministry says that a first booster increases protection seven days after the shot but has not yet released data on the effectiveness of a fourth dose.

Israel, population 9.4 million, has confirmed around 1.7 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and more than 8,000 deaths.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Frances Kerry)