Edelstein: We don't want to have half the country in isolation

Health Minister on new restrictions: We opened up the economy, that has consequences and we are dealing with them.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

Yuli Edelstein
Yuli Edelstein
Flash 90

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein commented on Friday on the new restrictions imposed by the government following the surge in new cases of coronavirus.

Speaking in an interview with Channel 13 News, Edelstein commented on the decision to lift the lockdown, which led to an increase in cases of COVID-19.

"We realized at some point that if we didn't open up the economy, we would simply collapse the entire economy, and if we didn’t give the public room to breathe, we would collapse society. So we opened up, that has consequences and we are dealing with them," he said.

"I am not bringing decisions to the Cabinet to shut down the entire economy just because we are facing a high rate of infection," Edelstein clarified. "We are a nation that has known many wars and crises, but this is something new. The enemy here is invisible and changes its behavior every moment."

The Minister of Health explained the reason for the decisions made by the government. "Weddings are becoming a source of contagion, and there are cities which are declared ‘red cities’ following these events," he said. "Unfortunately, in the current situation, a large area and a hall in which people keep a distance of two meters from each other does not help. There are infections there. We do not want half a country to sit in isolation."

Responding to the claims that the infection figures are rising, but not the admissions to hospital, the Minister replied, "When I am told that there are no seriously ill patients, I regret to say that there were 103 serious patients throughout the entire month June. We are on July 3 and there have been 38 new serious patients in July in just three days."

Asked whether Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hinted at an election when he said during a meeting of the Coronavirus Cabinet that "this conduct only leads to one place," the Minister of Health replied, "I do not think so. On the subject of the danger of coronavirus, I think he understands the situation very well. I also get a little nervous about all the news on this topic. I don't have time for politics right now. I'm fighting the virus 24/7 right now."

Edelstein insisted that he did not act against the law when he refused to step down as Speaker of the Knesset, despite the Supreme Court's ruling on the matter.

"That is absolutely false. I did what I was supposed to do as Speaker of the Knesset and I really don't regret what I did," he clarified.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)