The government of Israel has decided to meet on Sunday to discuss the potential extension in the current lockdown that has been imposed in the country. The authorities hope to extend the lockdown by at least another week to see a sizable reduction in the coronavirus cases in the country. In addition, they want to ensure that less and less patients are in critical condition as a result of the virus. As it is, the third lockdown was initially scheduled to expire at midnight on Sunday.
Health officials were expecting a decrease in the number of cases in the country as a result of Israel’s proactive vaccination campaign and the effect of the imposed lockdown. Thankfully, a downward trend has been noticed in the number of patients. However, the decrease is not large enough considering the people currently in a serious condition, who have been counted as at least 1,100 in a day. These patients are putting a strain on the hospital system in Israel.
Officials have speculated that the reason for the severity of the situation is most likely new variants of the coronavirus, which are more infectious. As per experts, the new mutations of the disease have significantly increased its ability to spread.
An update on Sunday morning by the Health Ministry revealed that around 2,596 new cases of the virus were reported in the country on Saturday. Despite the fact that this figure is significantly lower than those reported in previous days, the authorities are not too pleased. This is because the currently reported data has been influenced by the lower number of tests performed on the weekend. On weekdays, nearly 70,000 people are tested for the virus as compared to around 26,000 on the weekend.
Of the people whose results came back positive for the disease, around 1,162 were in critical condition and 298 were intubated. As of now, the death toll is at 4,745.
If the authorities had not imposed a lockdown, the State of Israel would have reported at least 20,000 cases on a daily basis. The number of patients in a serious condition would have been 2,000.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, is expected to back the extension of the lockdown for at least a week. However, the leader of the Blue and White, Defense Minister Benny, has been contesting for a shorter period of time.
In addition, it has been predicted that the Health Ministry will try and push for the closure of the Ben-Gurion Airport for another two weeks. But, it is not clear at this time whether legislation would be needed to implement such a rule.
The government’s meeting was set up for Sunday after Yariv Levin, the speaker of Knesset announced on the morning of Friday that the legislature will convene two days later. He also added that a bill will be passed to raise fines for people violating the coronavirus rules and regulations.
The saga with the bill for fines started out earlier last week. Currently, the country is racing between curbing the spread of the infection and administering as many vaccinations as possible.