Edelstein: Lifting the Lockdown Now Would Be ‘Highly Irresponsible’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Shaare Zedek Hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek Hospital in Yerushalayim on Wednesday. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

“Lifting the lockdown in the present situation would be highly irresponsible,” Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said while visiting the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.

The minister added that he understood the frustration of Israeli citizens and that he hoped the current restrictions would need to be maintained only for a short period.

“The reason for that is probably the mutation that is running rampant. We have been able to curb the rise in infections but we do not see the same decline that we saw after two weeks in the previous two closures,” added Edelstein.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reported Thursday morning that 7,668 new coronavirus cases have been diagnosed out of some 83,000 tests conducted in the past 24 hours, putting Israel’s contagion rate at 9.2%.

There are currently 1,132 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in serious condition, 306 of whom are connected to ventilators

The national death toll rose to 4,609, after 34 Israelis passed away of coronavirus-related complications on Wednesday.

At the same time, Israel’s vaccination campaign continues at full force, with more than 30% of the population, 2,849,425 Israelis, having already received the first dose of the inoculation. Some 1,497,781 have received both doses. Starting Thursday, all Israelis over the age of 35 are also eligible to receive the inoculation.