Gantz staff member tests positive for coronavirus

Benny Gantz will remain in quarantine after a staff member was confirmed as infected with the coronavirus.

 US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomes Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz during an enhanced honor cordon arrival ceremony at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, US, December 9, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/KEN CEDENO)
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomes Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz during an enhanced honor cordon arrival ceremony at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, US, December 9, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KEN CEDENO)

A member of Defense Minister Benny Gantz's staff tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. Gantz will remain in quarantine until the test is sequenced and the staff member undergoes an additional test.

The infected staff member did not sit near Gantz during his flight and did not test positive at Ben-Gurion Airport nor in a test taken before departing from the US to Israel.

Gantz had returned from a visit in the US where he met with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss regional issues, such as Iran's nuclear program and settlements in the West Bank.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was also stuck in quarantine after it was discovered on Tuesday that a person infected with coronavirus traveled from the United Arab Emirates to Israel on the same plane as Bennett.

The prime minister and his delegation were already in quarantine when they were informed of the positive traveler. They had taken a PCR test at the airport and are slated to perform another one on Wednesday, as per the country’s travel regulations.

Naftali Bennett with the UAE’s leader Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)Naftali Bennett with the UAE’s leader Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

However, Tuesday evening, Bennett decided that he and his delegation would take extra precaution and test a third time on Thursday and only leave isolation after a third negative result.

It is still unknown if the traveler was carrying the Omicron variant. It could take several days to complete genetic sequencing.

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman contributed to this report.