Photo Credit: Yehonatan Valtser/TPS
Offices of Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry in Jerusalem. Nov 7, 2019

Three Israeli diplomatic missions have been closed temporarily due to the spread of COVID-19, according to Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Usphiz.

Israel’s embassies in the Philippines and in Angola, as well as the consulate in San Francisco, were all shut down Monday due to COVID-19 infections and related quarantines among staffers there, said Ushpiz, who spoke Tuesday with journalists in a Zoom briefing.

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Diplomats and their staffers were vaccinated in February 2021 with the Foreign Ministry flying personnel into Israel to receive their shots.

Nevertheless, a total of 142 staffers – including diplomats and their families as well as local personnel – have been diagnosed with the virus. Another 89 staffers worldwide are currently in quarantine.

As of Monday morning, 13 staff members at the Jerusalem headquarters of the Foreign Ministry were diagnosed with the coronavirus. In addition, another six are in quarantine.

Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll was also found positive on Tuesday upon testing for the virus just a few days after dancing without a mask at a weekend New Year’s party. A ministry spokesperson said Roll is not currently experiencing any symptoms; he was tested because his domestic partner was exposed to an infected production team member Thursday at a performance. The partner has since been diagnosed with the virus, as has Roll.

Both men are in quarantine.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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