Israel's coronavirus said Wednesday evening the nationwide lockdown in its current form is not effective enough in bringing down the infection and needs to be much stricter.
Prof. Nachman Ash said in a meeting with heads of local authorities that the Health Ministry will have to recommend tightening of the lockdown, which Israel entered on Sunday evening.
"There is a big question mark over the effectiveness of the lockdown, in the coming days we will probably have to recommend tightening it," he said. "I am very concerned that we will not be able to vaccinate enough people [before infection surges]."
He made similar remarks in a Ynet interview hours earlier, where he expressed concern over the continuing rise in new daily cases of COVID-19 despite the closure.
Ash emphasized that following the lockdown there has been only a 20% decrease in the infection rate, compared to 60% drop in two previous closures.
He also slammed the heads of local authorities for not enforcing the health guidelines, accusing them of not understand the severity of the situation. He said Health Minister Yuli Edelstein told him that if he heard an explicit statement from any leader of a local municipality against the lockdown, he would publicly come out against them.
"I do not know if the election campaign adds to the considerations of the decision makers. My challenge is to convince the politicians who make the decisions. I am careful not to enter the political minefield."
The professor said he believes that by next year's Independence Day, the country might return to its pre-coronavirus routine.
"By Independence Day it is realistic that it will be possible to hold limited mass events. By May, I hope we will be able to vaccinate between 60% and 70% of the population, the minimum needed to achieve herd immunity," he said.
"The masks will also disappear when we reach herd immunity. When the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated reaches 80%-70%."