Health Ministry General Manager Professor Hezi Levy speaks during a press conference about the Coronavirus, in Jerusalem on June 21, 2020. 

Incoming Israeli Health Ministry Director General professor Hezi Levy said on Sunday that despite a “worrying” surge in COVID-19 figures recently, another lockdown is not being considered at this time.

“Just during the last week, over 1,700 new cases were found, including 30 to 40 more serious cases,” Levy told reporters during a live online press conference.

“This is worrying,” he said, but added that he does not see the need to return to the type of full closure that marked Israel’s initial response to the pandemic. “I don’t think we need another lockdown and the government is not talking about another lockdown,” he said.

Levy’s remarks appeared to contradict those of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has warned that there could be further lockdowns if the country’s COVID-19 figures continue to rise.

“If we do not immediately change our behavior regarding masks and maintaining [social distancing], we will bring upon ourselves, against our will, the return of the shutdowns,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, according to a press release from his office.

“None of us wants this; therefore, I call upon you, citizens of Israel, to wear masks and maintain distance.” JN

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