An anonymous Israeli official who attended a cabinet meeting on coronavirus policy this week, spoke to Channel 12 News on Wednesday, claiming that there may be a lockdown in the country during Rosh Hashanah, in September.
Amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the Israeli government may impose a lockdown, quite possibly in the next five weeks, which are crucial in containing the spread of the Delta variant.
The official reportedly said that if the public is not diligent in keeping the few remaining health orders aimed at curbing infections, a lockdown could be imposed over the Jewish New Year, which this year falls on September 6-8. As it stands, Rosh Hashanah and the High Holiday period is marked with crowded prayers at synagogues as well as widespread social gatherings, making the traditional annual practices a danger for virus spread.
Despite the highest vaccination rates and relaxations in pandemic curbs, Israel is once again seeing a rise in infections as COVID-19 cases jumped from around two dozen a month ago to over 700 in recent days. The number of seriously ill patients has also been climbing.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday night, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz told Channel 12 the government would balance its health considerations with “the need to continue daily life.” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also maintained that lockdowns can be avoided if the public heeds the health rules but warned closures could eventually be reimposed as a last resort if they do not.
Health Ministry figures released Wednesday showed that there are 5,220 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the country, of which 52 are in serious condition. There were 756 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed the day before.