Yuli Edelstein says lockdown must be extended past original 3-week period, cannot be ended after Sukkot holiday despite pressures to do so.
By: A7 Staff
Israel’s health minister vowed Tuesday that the three-week nationwide lockdown would be extended, despite pressure for it to end on schedule.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) spoke with Kan Bet Tuesday morning, discussing the ongoing lockdown imposed on September 18th and tentatively scheduled to end on October 9th.
During the interview, Edelstein said Israel ‘would not repeat the mistakes’ made at the end of the first lockdown, insisting that the lockdown cannot be ended after the end of the three-week period approved by the government.
The health minister did say the government might ease some of the restrictions at some point, but that such changes would be announced at a later date.
Edelstein noted that Israel’s coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu is slated to leave the position at the end of October, and rejected criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis.
When asked whether Israeli courts will be closed over the coronavirus pandemic at the same time hearings are set to take place in Netanyahu’s trials, Edelstein said the decision must be made by the judicial system, not the Health Ministry.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that Israel must be prepared to treat 1,500 coronavirus patients in serious condition.
The number of patients in serious condition rose to 763 today. About 3,500 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed yesterday. However, only half the usual number of tests were performed.
The Corona Cabinet will convene on Wednesday to discuss the health system’s action plan and set goals for a gradual exit strategy from the current lockdown.
Netanyahu spoke Sunday with the Chief Rabbis of Israel Rishon LeZion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef and Rabbi David Lau ahead of the Yom Kippur fast.
The Chief Rabbis noted that they have both called for the public to obey the Health Ministry’s guidelines and for people to pray outdoors as much as possible on Yom Kippur. Netanyahu stressed that he appreciates the mobilization of the rabbis to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The prime minister said: “I want to reinforce what you have said to the public: make sure to keep the rules, wear masks, social distance and pray in an open space as much as possible. Anyone who still enters the synagogue must pay extra attention to the Health Ministry’s rules.”