Israeli government is mulling limiting all social gatherings to 10 people as the country records the highest number of new daily coronavirus cases since the start of the epidemic.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday convened an urgent meeting with ministers, health officials and members of National Security Council to discuss the surge in COVID-19 cases and the measures that could be implemented to combat the virus.
Among those taking part in the meeting is former Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, who oversaw the last nationwide lockdown.
Current Health Ministry Director General Prof. Hezi Levi, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, Finance Minister Israel Katz and Science and Technology Minister Yizhar Shai also took part in the meeting.
Members of the National Security Council (NSC) recommended limiting restaurant activity to deliveries only and shuttering synagogues if coronavirus continues to spread with the same intensity.
Gantz said it has been only a week since the last restrictions were implemented and it's too early to tell whether they've had any effect, implying the NSC's recommendations should be put on hold.
Shai proposed that curfews be implemented during nighttime or weekends but not on weekdays. Both Gantz and Netanyahu said they will look into this option.
The meeting ended with all parties agreeing that if the surge in new cases continues at the same pace, the restrictions that were discussed during the meeting will be tabled for the government's approval.
Israel saw 1,681 new cases of coronavirus in over 24 hours, the Health Ministry said Tuesday morning, marking the second time in a week the country has reported a record number of daily infections since the pandemic began.
According to the ministry's National Coronavirus Information and Knowledge Center, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is expected to double every 12 days with the current infection rate.
There are now 177 patients in serious condition, with 55 people on ventilators. A total of 21,118 people are currently battling the virus in Israel.
Three more people succumbed to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 368. Since the start of July, another 15,525 people have been infected with the virus, almost as many as the total number of infections in March and April combined.