AIPAC Conference Attendees Were 'Potentially in Contact' With Coronavirus Patient

Several members of a New York State synagogue where one congregant has contracted the virus attended AIPAC's conference after being in the same space with the patient

Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Washington
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The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2020 Conference, March 2, 2020 in Washington.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2020 Conference, March 2, 2020 in Washington. Credit: Alex Brandon,AP
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Washington

WASHINGTON – A group of people who attended AIPAC’s policy conference in Washington on Monday were "potentially in contact" with a person who has contracted the new coronavirus, the organization announced Wednesday. 

AIPAC said that while the specific individual who has contracted the virus did not attend the conference, a group of people who had met that person very recently did. "To our knowledge, no one who attended the conference has tested positive for coronavirus at this time," read the organization's statement.

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The group represents a synagogue where one congregant has contracted the virus, and several synagogue members attended AIPAC's conference after possible contact with the patient during religious services. The group came from New York, Israeli and U.S. sources told Haaretz. 

It’s unclear from where in New York the group originated. Two Orthodox Jews from New Rochelle, in suburban Westchester County, have contracted the virus.

AIPAC told Haaretz in reply: "We closely followed developments regarding the coronavirus since early January. We were in consultation with health experts and monitored the guidance of the WHO, CDC, TSA, and DHS."

A spokesman for AIPAC added that "We worked closely with the Washington Convention Center to create a safe and hygienic environment by increasing the number of hand-sanitizer dispensers, adding additional cleaning crews to disinfect high-traffic areas, and deploying signage to encourage hand-washing and other recommended behaviors. We are currently following guidelines as established by the federal and local health authorities." 

The conference, which ran from Friday through Tuesday, attracted 18,000 activists. 

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency contributed to this report.