Rishon LeTzion Harav Yitzchak Yosef, shlita, issued a joint statement with national coronavirus project manager Ronni Gamzu: “According to the directives of the Health Ministry, and thus as per Halachah, whoever endangers others – such a person has potentially incurred the status of a murderer, and bears the weight of this sin.”
Prof. Gamzu came to meet with Rav Yosef on Monday night to seek halachic advice pertaining to the novel coronavirus, after which the two issued their joint statement.
“Our Torah is the Torah of life, and it commands us to take the utmost care of ourselves. The Torah also states ‘and you shall live by them,’ by which Chazal rule (Yoma 85b) that saving a life overrides the entire Torah.
“The Rambam adds (Shabbos 2:3) that it is forbidden to delay desecration of the Shabbos for a sick person who is in danger…”
The Rav quoted other Talmudic sources, adding that “one must follow the Health Department’s rules, because we’ve seen that they can save life. … Therefore, masks must be worn in public areas and in shuls, not to form gatherings and … to avoid meetings where people do not observe the guidelines and go beyond the permitted number.”
He also stated that “Those who feel symptoms, such as coughing, loss of taste or smell and difficulties breathing, or temperature must see to it that they are checked, and not dare to ‘be his own judge’ and bring other to dangers.”
Rav Yosef gave Prof. Gamzu a copy of his sefer, Yalkut Yosef, and inscribed in it: To one who loves the chachamim and honors them, the man placed over the congregation, Professor Ronni Gamzi, may he succeed in the important task that he has accepted upon himself, to save the nation that dwells in Zion.”