As the number of actives cases of COVID-19 crossed the 30,000 mark for the first time on Tuesday, Health Ministry officials were estimating that at the present rate, the country will be faced with 1,000 patients in serious condition within three weeks.
Currently, there are 256 coronavirus patients listed in serious condition, according to the ministry.
The projection was made in a briefing to ministers by health officials on Monday, according to Channel 12.
Unnamed ministers were quoted as saying that they came away from the meeting with the impression that the government is preparing to impose a nationwide lockdown soon, with deliberations on the matter expected to begin Thursday.
Health Ministry data shows 1,883 new coronavirus infections in the 24-hour period from Monday night to Tuesday night.
Two new deaths have been confirmed earlier in the day, bringing the toll to 424.
The total number of cases is 53,559, including 30,488 active cases.
The numbers of serious and moderate patients are slightly down, at 256 and 129, respectively. There are 77 patients on ventilators.
The ministry said the results of 27,299 coronavirus tests came back yesterday.
Meanwhile, Ben-Gurion University experts team head and former Negev Nuclear Research Campus chief scientist Prof. Dov Schwartz called for an “almost complete closure” on the country.
“I call on the Prime Minister and the Alternate Prime Minister and the Knesset Coronavirus Committee Chair: Wake up, we’re one step away from catastrophe,” he said, according to Arutz Sheva on Tuesday night.
Two weeks ago, the BGU team warned of one thousand people in serious condition and about five hundred dying in August, if drastic measures are not taken.
Prof. Schwartz described the situation in grave terms: “The latest news and latest results indicate that we’re continuing to gallop towards the abyss, where we can’t avoid reaching a state where the coronavirus wards will reach maximum capacity and doctors will have to decide who to ventilate and who will die.”
He castigated Israeli officialdom for wasting valuable time with endless discussions about restaurants, gyms and pools.
“The only way before a full closure is to activate an ‘almost full closure’: closure rules that release only things essential for the economy and that were proven to work well in the First Wave: Summer school – study in ‘capsules’ for kindergartens and grades 1-3 only; Leaving for work five days a week while maintaining closure on weekends (Friday morning – Sunday morning) and on all evenings of the week, voluntary isolation for all senior citizens and risk groups,” Schwartz recommended.
“In relation to all other things, one must act in the opposite direction to that taken by the Knesset [coronavirus] committee — if there’s no proof that it’s harmless, don’t open it! Therefore: no pools, no restaurants, no synagogues, and no gyms,” he said.