Health minister says Israel heading towards new restrictions

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein says that Israel is heading towards closing down commerce throughout the country due to a continued rise in infections.

“We are going towards closing trade, in accordance with the data,” he tells the Kan public broadcaster, referring to the more than 2,200 daily cases confirmed yesterday.

“As a government, we made decisions about very clear criteria for starting the ‘tightened restraint’ restrictions — 2,500 patients per day or a basic reproduction number over 1.32.”

The basic reproduction number — a key epidemiological benchmark representing the average number of people each virus carrier infects — currently stands at 1.16, according to a taskforce report from this morning.

Edelstein says there is complacency among much of the public, with many feeling the pandemic is close to being over due to the first batch of vaccines arriving.

“The situation won’t be easy for the coming months,” he says.

However, Edelstein promises that the education system will continue to operate in low- and medium-infection areas designated as “green” or “yellow.”

He confirms he intends to get vaccinated on Saturday.