Pompeo (L) with Netanyahu. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images

The State Department announced Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Israel next week, confirming Wednesday's Axios report.

Why it matters: This will be Pompeo’s first trip abroad since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. It will come on the day Israel's new government is slated to be sworn in.

Israel has strict travel restrictions for people entering the country, including two weeks of isolation.

  • That will not apply to Pompeo, who will be the first senior foreign official to visit since the rules came into effect.
  • Dr. William Walters, the State Department’s deputy chief medical officer, said in a briefing with reporters that all medical precautions around the trip had been coordinated with the Israeli government, and Pompeo is not expected to enter quarantine.
  • Walters said everyone who will accompany Pompeo on his flight to Israel will be tested for COVID-19 two days before, and will wear a mask during the trip. Meanwhile, everyone who will come into contact with the U.S. delegation will be checked for symptoms.
  • Walters said Pompeo was being checked by doctors on a daily basis. He noted that the secretary of state would only be participating in meetings in controlled settings, and would not interact with the general population.

Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs David Schenker stressed that the Israeli government had invited Pompeo, and said discussions had been underway before the date was set for Israel's new government to be sworn in.

  • The statement announcing the trip said Pompeo would discuss “regional security issues related to Iran’s malign influence” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival-turned-coalition-partner Benny Gantz.
  • Schenker refused to discuss the issue of possible West Bank annexations by the new government, saying only that a joint mapping committee was still working on the issue.

Go deeper

Elliott Abrams to replace Brian Hook as Trump's Iran envoy

Brian Hook. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

President Trump's Iran envoy, Brian Hook, is stepping down, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Thursday. He will be replaced with Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams, a noted Iran hawk who will serve in both roles.

Why it matters: Hook had been tasked with executing Trump's "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran, working closely with Pompeo. That strategy has deepened tensions and thus far failed to force Iran back to the negotiating table, as Trump had hoped.

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 19,648,084 — Total deaths: 727,024 — Total recoveries — 11,941,723Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 4,998,105 — Total deaths: 162,425 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats, and some Republicans, criticize the move
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
Updated 2 hours ago - World

Brazil coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 and case numbers surpass 3 million

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.