Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said the government was taking steps to avoid the need for a nation-wide lockdown but added, "We are prepared to impose closures either locally or nationally."
Netanyahu spoke following a visit to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem where he toured a control center for the coronavirus ward.
The PM said the Israel Institute for Biological Research was set to begin human trials for a COVID-19 vaccine that if successful would be available early in 2021.
"I commend the IBR for their work and instructed them to begin human trials," he said and added that Israel is joining the countries developing a vaccine that will make funding available to begin production.
"We have unanimously adopted the position of coronavirus czar Professor Ronni Gamzu and though we understand that no other country with a rate of contagion as high as ours has avoided lockdowns but in efforts to contain the social and economic problems we are making every effort to slow the spread of the virus by other means. If everyone wears a mask, we will succeed," Netanyahu said.
On Wednesday, the ministerial committee on the coronavirus pandemic voted to accept Gamzu's program to include local municipalities and regional councils in the management of the pandemic in their localities in what he termed the "traffic light plan"
Locations would be identified as Red – with many cases of COVID-19 and a continued spread of the virus, orange, and green, with specified measured that could and should be taken in each locality and increased economic and cultural activity where possible.
But the option of a lockdown remains.
First published: 19:25 , 08.06.20