IDF Chief-of-Staff Aviv Kochavi tested negative for the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Tuesday night after it became apparent that he had been in contact with an officer who was infected with the virus.
Kochavi and two other generals entered quarantine earlier in the day after encountering an officer who was later tested positive for COVID-19. The three had been in a meeting with the infected Home Front Command officer on March 22.
Kochavi will remain in self-quarantining in his office for another few days, an IDF statement read.
In the meantime, Israeli scientists have made progress in developing a vaccine for Coronavirus.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Tuesday with Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) Director-General Professor Shmuel Shapira, who updated him on progress in the institute’s research and development efforts regarding a vaccine and antibodies.
Shapira noted that there has been “significant progress” in planning for the vaccine and added that preparations are now being made ahead of a model for the start of experimentation on animals, a crucial stage before trials on humans are carried out.
National Security Council (NSC) head Meir Ben-Shabbat and Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman To on Tuesday evening briefed ministers on the war on the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
While preparations for an exit from the Corona-related lockdown after the Passover holiday were underway, he cautioned that Israel is “still in the danger zone.”
A single day like Purim holiday, during which many Israelis were infected at parties, “or one localized flare-up would suffice to torpedo all of our efforts; therefore, the existing restrictions must continue and all instructions must be adhered to,” Ben Shabbat said.
The Ministry of Health on Wednesday morning updated that the number of Corona patients in Israel was 5,129, with 97 in serious condition, 118 in moderate condition, and 226 who have recovered.
21 Israelis have died of the virus. The majority were elderly people who suffered from other previous illnesses.
Israel on Tuesday was ranked the safest place in the world in regard to the outbreak of the Coronavirus by the Deep Knowledge Group, a consortium of organizations and companies working in breakthrough technology and high-tech engineering innovation through scientific advances.
The mortality rate in Israel among Corona patients is one of the lowest in the world, with a 0.37% death rate. Italy has an 11% mortality rate, England has a 6% rate, the US has 1.7%, and Germany has 0.8%.
The novel Coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 203 countries around the world.
At least 860,000 cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, including at least 42,000 deaths. Some 178,000 have recovered.