Israel is facing an “un-precedented” wave of the Covid-19 pandemic triggered by the new Omicron variant, said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
“We are going to see very high levels of infections, which have not seen in Israel before,” Xinhua news agency quoted Bennett as saying to the state-owned Kan Bet Radio.
The Omicron variant is “unusually contagious”, he added.
“We are a moment away from a blizzard of infections, it will happen and we cannot prevent it,” the Prime Minister said.
The remarks came as the cabinet has implemented tighter restrictions, including imposing the “green pass” scheme on large shops.
The scheme only allows vaccinated people to enter certain public venues.
Israel, a country with a population of 9.2 million, is reportedly facing the fifth wave of the pandemic caused by the Omicron variant.
In the last 24 hours, Israel reported 623 new Omicron cases, according to the Health Ministry.
The overall number of Omicron cases in Israel now stands at 1,741, with 1,004 of them being passengers from abroad, the ministry said.
Eight of the people infected by Omicron are currently hospitalised, and one of them is in critical condition since he was not vaccinated, it added.
The Ministry also announced the death of an 84-year-old woman who had received three doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. She was suspected of being infected with Omicron.
In addition, the Omicron variant was detected in sew age sampling at 19 locations throughout Israel.
Since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, Israel has reported a total of 1,371,007 Covid cases and 8,243 deaths.