With less than a day before Israel becomes the first Western country to impose a second nationwide lockdown to curb the coronavirus pandemic, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein urged the public to adhere to government directives, saying that “without the public, we [the government] cannot succeed” in the fight against COVID-19.

Israel so far has recorded 172,322 coronavirus cases, including 1,163 deaths. There are currently 45,488 active patients—579 of whom are in serious condition.

Edelstein said that morbidity data will determine whether the lockdown—currently set to begin on Friday afternoon and be in placet for three weeks—is cut short or extended.

“The public must understand that we are currently in a war for civil peace,” said Edelstein, urging all sectors of society to cease asking what is and isn’t allowed “and instead ask themselves, ‘What can I do so we will see a drop in the infection rate?’ ”

He argued that the spike in infection rates was largely due to the start of the school year, claiming he had the data proving that thousands of students and teachers throughout the country are ill.

This assertion contradicts the position of the Education Ministry.

He also addressed the pushback against the 500-meter (1,640-feet) restriction, which some medical professionals have argued has no epidemiological value, saying that he agreed, “but there is a very clear logic to this guideline, and I call on everyone to observe it.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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