Israelis should expect the country's current lockdown to be extended past its current expiration date of October 10, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Tuesday.
Edelstein told Israeli public broadcaster KAN that the second national lockdown, said to be much more prohibitive than the first in March and April, would be lifted gradually over an extended period of time.
“The closure will not be lifted - unequivocally. There is no scenario that in 10 days we will lift everything and say, ‘everything is over, everything is fine,”' Edelstein said.
While winning praise for its handling of the virus in the first wave of the pandemic, Israel rushed to reopen its economy at the end of May, triggering a more virulent second wave that it is has since struggled to contain.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday morning that the government was preparing the country's healthcare system to accommodate some 1,500 seriously ill coronavirus patients in the coming days.
The premier also said that a lockdown exit strategy was being devised to prevent the country from relapsing into another national quarantine.
According to Health Ministry data released on Tuesday, some 1,121 new cases of COVID-19 were discovered over the Yom Kippur holiday, with only 8,105 people being tested on Monday.
So far, 1,507 Israelis have died from the coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic in March, with the ministry recording another 65,025 active cases.
There are 755 patients in serious condition in Israel, including 207 people currently on ventilators.