Netanyahu appears to be in favor of a stricter closure for at least 10 days, while Gantz opposes total shutdown of schools; ministers approve new economic aid package in principle with details still to be worked out

Following an announcement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the government was set to convene on Tuesday in order to discuss tightening coronavirus restrictions during the country’s third lockdown since the start of the pandemic.

Netanyahu appears to be in favor of a stricter closure for a period of at least 10 days, while Defense Minister Benny Gantz opposes the total shutdown of schools.

מחסומי משטרה בתל אביב בתחילת הסגר השלישי
Police enforcing coronavirus restrictions in Tel Aviv (Photo: Reuters)


The prime minister said that tightening the lockdown that began last Sunday but has so far failed to reduce Israel’s infection rate would be “the last effort to eradicate the plague” as the vaccine rollout continues.

The country has embarked on the world’s most ambitious vaccination program, having given one-tenth of the population the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in two weeks.

The prime minister has said he wants every Israeli in a high-risk group to have been vaccinated by the end of January.

מתחם חיסוני קורונה בבאקה אל גרבייה
An Israeli man receives the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the town of Baka al-Garbiyyeh (Photo: Ido Erez)


Meanwhile, ministers on Monday evening approved a new aid initiative for Israel’s stricken economy, whose details were still to be worked out.

Earlier Monday, the Health Ministry reported that 5,135 new daily coronavirus cases have been diagnosed on Sunday, with the infection rate climbing to 6.6%.

The ministry said that on Sunday medical authorities conducted 79,395 COVID-19 tests and 134,226 vaccinations against the pathogen.

At least 731 patients are in serious condition, of whom 201 are ventilated. The official death toll now stands at 3,416 after 12 more people passed away on Sunday. The Health Ministry said 69 people died from coronavirus-related complications since the start of 2021.

מחלקת טיפול נמרץ קורונה בבית החולים איכילוב
A coronavirus ward at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center (Photo: TPS)


Over the past week, 38,228 new infections were reported in Israel, an average of 5,461 diagnoses per day.

At the peak of the second wave in late September and early October, a similar national average of 5,660 cases was reported. However, the number of tests conducted in recent days is much higher than the number of tests performed during the second wave.

According to Oxford University, Israel over the past week has been ranked third in the world when it comes to infections per capita, surpassed only by the U.S. and Britain.

As reported by Ynetnews