April 8, 2020

Knesset director will suspend parliament if ‘dozens’ of MKs ordered into quarantine

As of Sunday, three cabinet ministers and two MKs were in quarantine. Knesset Director General Albert Sakharovich: We hope to install testing equipment in the Knesset clinic this week.

If dozens of MKs are ordered into quarantine because of the coronavirus epidemic, Knesset Director-General Albert Sakharovich thinks he will have no choice but to suspend Knesset activity.

In an interview scheduled to air on the Knesset Channel, Sakharovich said, “It’s clear that if we get to a situation in which a few dozen MKs are quarantined, we will not be able to hold Knesset debates and will have to close the facility.

“We won’t want to endanger the other MKs or Knesset staff. This situation is possible, but I hope it doesn’t happen,” he said.

As of Sunday, three cabinet ministers (Arye Deri, Tzachi Hanegbi, and Bezalel Smotrich) and two MKs (Ram Ben-Barak and Alon Schuster) were in quarantine.

Sakharovich was asked if he intended to test all 120 MKs for coronavirus.

“A lot of MKs have approached us with questions about getting tested. We are preparing for it. I hope that this week there will be testing equipment in the Knesset clinic, and any MK who wants to will be able to be tested. Obviously, we won’t require them to, but in my opinion it needs to be done,” he answered.

In a related development, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit responded to a petition filed with the High Court of Justice against Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and said that there was nothing to prevent the Knesset from holding its regular debates — despite instructions from the Health Ministry.

The petition was slated to be discussed at 4 p.m. Sunday. 


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