Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday threatened renewed lockdowns on Israeli cities if the public continues to disregard health order meant to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Israel over the past few weeks has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 as more and more businesses reopen, with the daily toll topping 300 new cases on Friday for the first time since the peak of the epidemic in mid-April.
"If we do not stick to face masks and social distancing, we will bring back the closures and no one wants that," Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu said a special ministerial committee, tasked with combating the epidemic, was due to meet on Monday to debate whether some restrictions on movement should be reintroduced.
"We are also making every effort to get the vaccine," said the prime minister. "It is a welcomed [international] race and we hope we will succeed, but until then, there is no other option but to maintain an informed policy on reopening of the economy and managing the coronavirus routine."
Defense Minister Benny Gantz also weighed in on the issue, saying the biggest challenge is to learn how to manage our lives under the constant threat of contracting the virus.
"This issue will continue to accompany us for the next year and a half," he said. "That is why we, as a government, have a duty to give the answer to the public's needs on the one hand, and the economy's needs on the other."
Earlier, the Health Ministry ordered all hospitals to prepare for immediate reopening of coronavirus wards due to the spike of the disease in the country
The ministry said 159 people were diagnosed with the virus on Saturday with only 6,021 tests conducted, representing a disturbing 2.6% contagion rate.