Israel's public health chief said the full lockdown, set to go into effect midnight Friday, might last "more than two weeks".
Ministers earlier this week voted to tighten the current coronavirus lockdown for at least two weeks, which includes shuttering of the education system, in an effort to bring down the worrying surge in COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Sharon Elrai-Price said during Thursday's briefing the outbreak has been picking up pace. "We see the numbers double every two weeks. Today, 80% of Israel's population live in red or orange communities, which means the outbreak is raging," she said.
"We are at 8,000 verified cases a day. We are hitting the brakes, but we need to understand that the numbers will still go up," she said. "It [the full lockdown] could very well last more than two weeks."
Dr. Elrai-Price said she hopes the vaccination campaign will lead to a drop in serious cases within the next two weeks. "We are vaccinating the population with a very high efficiency and I hope it will have an effect," she added.
"No one wants to continue this lockdown longer than it is required. It is allowed to get vaccinated while in lockdown, it is part of the permitted activity for medical needs."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday the latest restrictions, along with the high-speed vaccination campaign, will help Israel emerge on the other side of the pandemic.