Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said more coronavirus hotspots will be declared as "restricted areas" with all the implications stemming from the decision.
Netanyahu's decision was made following an urgent meeting with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana and the head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben Shabbat, to discuss the latest surge in the number of cases.
According to the Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center report, 377 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, the biggest daily increase since April. With 12,337 virus tests conducted on Monday, the number of confirmed infections represents 2.7% contagion rate, the highest it has ever been in Israel.
During the meeting it was also agreed that if the rate of infection continues to rapidly increase, the government would table a proposal sometime this week for digital means to be used in the battle against the spread of the pathogen, including electronic tracking of carriers.
Edelstein said declaring cities and towns with high contagion rate as "restricted" will not lead to "total lockdown." The health minister made the comments during a ceremony unveiling a new coronavirus ward at Sheba Medial Center at Tel HaShomer.
"There are a number of locations that have met the criteria we set of being considered red and will be declaring them today as restricted areas,” he said. “We will not get to a total closure or in military terms, breathable closure."
Earlier, health officials said the central city of Bat Yam has emerged as the latest coronavirus hotspot, along with the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel.
According to the report, from June 1 until June 21, 117 people tested positive for the pathogen in Bat Yam, bringing the total number of active patients in the city to 137. The contagion rate in the city currently stands at staggering 5%.
Bat Yam Mayor Zvika Brot appealed to the National Security Council, urging them to reinstate emergency measures that would once again ban the city's beaches.