Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Monday that he hoped the new COVID-19-related restrictions approved by the government earlier in the day would be sufficient to prevent the need for a total lockdown.
“Coronavirus in the country needs to be fought with help from its citizens and in collaboration with the government,” said Edelstein. “We hope that in two weeks we will not need to announce a total shutdown,” he added.
Edelstein announced that he would be appointing a special manager to oversee all government actions related to the pandemic, and that the ministry would increase epidemiological testing.
The health minister also announced the implementation of a computer system that used artificial intelligence software to help track and contain the pandemic.
There are currently 12,799 active COVID-19 cases in Israel, 89 of them serious. Thirty-five people are on respirators, and 338 have died of the disease so far.
Meanwhile, a group of more than 200 scientists has called for the World Health Organization (WHO) and others to acknowledge that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread through the air—a change that could alter some of the current measures being taken to stop the pandemic, the AP reported on Monday.
While the WHO has long maintained that COVID-19 is spread via larger respiratory droplets, most often when people cough or sneeze, it had previously dismissed the possibility of airborne transmission, said the report.