Health officials fear that the three-week lockdown, imposed on Friday (September 18), may not be long or restrictive enough to slow the daily case toll and relieve hospitals that they warn could soon reach capacity.
New cases have reached daily highs of more than 5,000 among Israel's 9 million population, sharply rebounding from single-digit lows following a relatively stricter initial lockdown from March to May.
On the front lines of Israel's second COVID-19 wave are doctors and nurses working around the clock at Ichilov hospital, where half of 60 COVID-19 patients are in serious condition and require ventilation, according to a hospital spokesman.
Guy Choshen, director of Ichilov's coronavirus ward, said the hospital has begun admitting patients from Jerusalem and districts in northern Israel because of their incapacity to handle this increase in numbers.
Preparing for what he called "worst case scenarios", Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday (September 21) he had told the military to be ready to erect a field hospital to relieve the overload.