Bibi: No major lifting of lockdown until five million are vaccinated

PM at loggerheads with Benny Gantz over timetable


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of its coronavirus cabinet today that a significant lifting of restrictions could only be implemented when at least five million people have been vaccinated.

"You see what happened the last time we listened to those who called for a swift opening,” he warned. “There must be no political considerations.”

However, Defence Minister Benny Gantz's Blue and White Party has been pushing for the first phase to go ahead this week, claiming Mr Netanyahu wanted to ease restrictions nearer to the March 23 elections. Mr Gantz maintained that a quicker exit from lockdown would not put lives at risk.

Latest figures show that around 3.8 million Israelis have received at least one Covid vaccine dose.

But there is concern over vaccine take-up among the young with around 75 per cent of new Covid cases found in those under the age of 39, according to a report by Israel's Coronavirus Information Centre. The report also revealed that up to 15 per cent of patients in a serious condition are 39 or younger, a figure which has risen steadily since December.

Daily figures show another 3,100 Covid cases reported in Israel with an additional 47 deaths.




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