If the government doesn't tighten the coronavirus restrictions now, it will result in another, "much longer" nationwide lockdown, a senior Health Ministry official said Tuesday.
Israel has recently seen a resurgence of COVID-19 with over 2,000 new daily cases reported to have been diagnosed on Monday, the highest the figure has been since October 14.
"If we wait too long, in the end the price will be heavy for both the economy and health," Head of Public Health Services at the Health Ministry Dr. Sharon Elrai-Price told Ynet.
"There will be a much longer lockdown, and we will be required to take actions such as closing the education system and imposing traffic restrictions."
The government said last week if the number of daily cases reaches 2,500 or if the coefficient of infection rises to 1.32, it will enforce the policy of "tight restraint" for at least three weeks. This includes among other things, closure of the trade sector and the education system in "red" and "orange" municipalities.
"Last week we tabled for the cabinet a recommendation to enforce the policy of tight restraint. The intention is to go one step back and return to a state where there is no trade, instead of sitting and waiting for the numbers to go up. The sooner we take this step the easier it will be."
She also blasted Israel Airport Authority for failing to enforce health restrictions at Ben Gurion Airport that on Monday and Sunday saw massive lines and overcrowding as people were preparing to jet off for the Hanukkah holiday.
Elrai-Price added that in her opinion, by April, three million people will have been vaccinated against coronavirus in Israel. "HMOs have the capabilities. We're working together to make that happen."