The first shipment of Moderna-produced Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines arrived in Israel, two months ahead of the scheduled delivery date.
Some 150,000 doses arrived on Thursday, and another 150,000 are expected to arrive at the beginning of next week.
Israel is the third country to receive Moderna’s vaccines, after the US and Canada.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday night that he spoke several days ago with Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel and pushed him to send vaccines to Israel.
“We will give these vaccines to people who cannot go to their HMO, whether they are isolated at home or cannot go to the inoculation sites for any other reason,” he stated.
“I am working to bring millions of additional vaccines to the citizens of Israel so that we can emerge from the coronavirus pandemic once and for all,” he added.
Health Ministry data shows that over 1,593,000 Israelis have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the almost three weeks of Operation “Lend a Shoulder” to inoculate the population, consisting of almost 18% of the population.
Nearly 70% of all 60-plus-year-olds in Israel were vaccinated.
In the meantime, the Cabinet approved on Wednesday night the regulations for the tightened lockdown, Israel’s third in 10 months.
The regulations will take effect on Thursday at midnight for at least two weeks.
Gatherings will be limited to up to five people in closed areas and up to 10 people in an open area. The entire education system will be closed, except for special education.
Employees will not enter their places of work except exceptions, including those that provide essential and vital services and those engaged in construction or infrastructure work.
Occupancy on public transportation will be reduced to 50% of capacity.
Restrictions were imposed on going out from one’s place of residence beyond 1,000 meters, apart from a few exceptions.
Take-away services are prohibited but delivery services are permitted.
The Ministry of Health updated Thursday morning that it documented 7,820 new infection cases over the past 24 hours.
Of the 129,711 tests done on Wednesday, a high 6.2% returned positive.
873 patients hospitalized with Corona are in serious condition, 210 of them are on life support.
Since the outbreak in February 2020, 3,527 Israelis have died of the virus.