Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, was suspended today, and lawmakers and workers were told to stay away after a lawmaker said he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Officials said they had begun an epidemiological investigation and would examine security-camera images to identify anyone who had come into close contact with the lawmaker, Sami Abou Shahadeh, a member of the predominantly Arab political alliance known as the Joint List.
Shmulik Dahan, a Knesset spokesman, said the day’s two scheduled committee hearings were canceled but that the building had not been completely shut down. Normal activity would resume depending on the results of the epidemiological investigation, he said.
Mr. Abou Shahadeh, 44, had been photographed in crowds without a mask at a protest over the fatal police shooting of Iyad Halak, an unarmed, autistic Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem who was killed Saturday, and while paying his respects at the Halak family’s mourning tent.
In an interview, Mr. Abou Shahadeh said that he had been urging Israelis for weeks to follow the government’s rules for curbing the virus, even as the public’s diligence ebbed.
“I did everything I could,” he said. “People are seizing on those two photos, but it was right after I’d done interviews. There are dozens of other photos where I am wearing a mask.”
Mr. Abou Shahadeh said he and an aide, who tested positive after feeling tired last week, were not showing symptoms. “It could be that I’m just at the beginning, but I’m feeling well right now,” he said.
He said he had mixed with large numbers of people, including at two large funerals on May 28. One of them was for Ayman Safiah, a well-known dancer whose body was found on the beach near Haifa.
“I wore the mask at both funerals, except when Ayman’s mother spoke and I started to cry,” Mr. Abou Shahadeh said.
Mr. Abou Shahadeh announced his diagnosis on Twitter on Wednesday night, appealing “to anyone who was in my immediate area to go into isolation and get tested.”
Source : The New York times