Israel's Health Ministry Director Resigns Amid COVID Delta Variant Outbreak

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Health Ministry Director General Chezy Levy holding up a coronavirus vaccine in March.
Health Ministry Director General Chezy Levy holding up a coronavirus vaccine in March.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The director general of the Health Ministry, Prof. Chezy Levy, announced his resignation on Sunday, with his replacement yet to be appointed and the delta variant continuing to spread across the country.

According to sources, the director general met with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz on Sunday to inform him of the decision.

As Levy's announcement broke, Israel's coronavirus cabinet was meeting for the first time in months to discuss ways to combat the spread of the COVID delta variant.

The coronavirus cabinet decided not to impose any new restrictions at present. The cabinet decided to focus their efforts on developing a plan for enforcing quarantine of Israelis returning from abroad, and a campaign to encourage vaccination among younger teens.

On Saturday, Israel recorded 113 new coronavirus cases, in light of outbreaks of the more infectious delta variant hailing from India.

Health Minister Horowitz extended his gratitude to Levy for his "great professionalism" during "one of the most challenging periods that Israel's health system has ever known." The statement added that Levy's replacement will be announced soon.  

Levy's resignation comes on the heels of several television interviews he gave this week in which he stated he did not receive a request to extend his term. 

He is expected to return to his previous role as the director of the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, which he held for eight years.

Levy, who was appointed by then-Health Minister Yuli Edelstein to prepare Israel for a second COVID wave, and steered Israel through two subsequent waves of the virus. He was also responsible for appointing Sharon Alroy-Preis, the Health Ministry’s head of public health services.

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