Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Wednesday an immediate investment of NIS 2.5 billion in the healthcare system to help it better cope with the rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.
"Today, we are giving a boost to the health system in Israel and to the medical teams that are fighting there for our health," Bennett said at the opening of a televised press conference after meeting with hospital directors.
"The race between Delta and the vaccination campaign requires us to prepare for a surge in the number of patients hospitalized. We must allow the hospitals' capacity to increase in order to buy time until the effects of the vaccination campaign kick in and begin to block and eventually fend off the outbreak."
To that end, Bennett said, "we are immediately transferring NIS 2.5 billion to bolster the Israeli healthcare system now and later", adding 770 hospitals beds and hiring 2,000 more doctors, nurses, hospital staff and paramedics as well as recruiting further 3,000 medicine students.
After the premier concluded his remarks, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz took the stage and noted the importance of the country's immunization push in staving off the spread of the virus.
He added that a restriction on mass gatherings will be needed to prevent superspreader events.
Meanwhile, the government seems to be preparing for a scenario in which 2,400 Israelis will be hospitalized with severe COVID-19 illness by mid-September, according to Health Ministry documents seen by Ynet on Wednesday, potentially overwhelming the country's hospitals.