Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrives for a press conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem Photograph:( AFP )
Israel has seen infections nearly quadruple over the past week due to the Omicron varaint
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said that the country can witness up to 4 million Covid infections in the current wave.
Speaking to reporters, Bennett said, "Data presented at the cabinet meeting indicates that here, in Israel, between two to four million citizens in total will be infected during this current wave."
Meanwhile, an expert panel has said that even imposing a lockdown in Israel will not stop the wave of coronavirus case brought upon the country by the Omicron variant.
A country of just 9.4 million, Israel has seen infections nearly quadruple over the past week compared to the previous one.
According to Bennett, "We saw that other countries imposed measures as harsh as a lockdown. The Netherlands, for example, imposed a total lockdown, but it didn't help. We have to manage this tsunami."
“There’s no place for panic. There’s no place for hysteria. We will get through this together,” Bennett said, adding that the government is handling a once-in-a-lifetime crisis “in the right and responsible way.”
In Israel as in other countries, the variant has shattered infection records but appears to cause less severe illness and death — especially among vaccinated people.
Antigen tests are in scarce supply at pharmacies around the country, and people spend hours in line waiting to get one administered.
The government last week earmarked PCR and institutional antigen testing for only people at high coronavirus risk, saying the less vulnerable should home-test instead.
Moving fast after Omicron was first detected abroad, Israel in late November barred foreigners and expanded a list of "red" countries to which travel by its citizens was strictly limited, with greater latitude given for medium-risk "orange" countries.
(With inputs from agencies)