A view of Jerusalem's Old City | Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun
A general view shows the Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem's Old City December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun *** Local Caption *** 07.12.17 09.04.18

dpa/GNA – The past month of Israel’s third lockdown has been the worst in terms of Covid-19 related deaths, official data showed on Thursday.

As many as 30 per cent of all Israelis who died of the virus died during the period, according to figures released by the Health Ministry.

When Israel imposed a third nationwide lockdown on December 27, the overall death toll was 3,222. On Thursday, it stood at 4,612.

Israel tightened the lockdown on January 7. In addition to bars, restaurants and shopping centres which were already closed, schools and kindergartens were also shut, with the exception of special education. However, religious seminaries in ultra-Orthodox areas ignored these rules.

Experts say the latest lockdown, and Israel’s massive vaccination campaign, are taking longer than expected to show their effects, probably due to the new strain of the virus that first appeared in Britain.

Since Israel launched the biggest vaccination campaign in its history, nearly 2.9 million citizens have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – some 30 per cent of its population of nearly 9.3 million.

Nearly 1.5 million people have also received their second dose.

A heated debate was expected in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet over a further extension to the current lockdown which is due to end on January 31.

Israelis appear tired of the virus restrictions, and unlike during the first and second lockdowns last year, many shops selling non-essential items are open. Traffic, too is almost at pre-lockdown levels.

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