Israel will allocate 10 billion shekels ($3.1 billion) to combat future waves of the coronavirus pandemic as an “economic and medical safety blanket,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Bennett said that he and Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman had agreed on an “outline for a one-time expansion of the 2022 national budget, within the framework of the lessons learned from the previous waves.”

“We will be prepared to save the lives of Israeli citizens,” the prime minister said, adding that has accumulated considerable knowledge during the fourth wave and has shared it with other countries.

“Management of a pandemic is an event with countless variables and decisions, but in my opinion, we’ve developed a model here that is certainly piquing interest abroad. The Israeli model is of an open country, with lots of small and innovative actions, and also a little bit of trial and error, vaccinations and safety measures, and micro-management of the situation on a daily basis, while taking all the considerations, not just the epidemiological ones, into account. In the final outcome, it works. Israeli citizens are safe,” he said.

Meanwhile, the fourth wave of the pandemic in the country continued its downward trend over the weekend, with the Health Ministry on Sunday morning reporting updated figures showing 324 new confirmed cases since midnight Saturday, accounting for 0.98 percent of administered tests. On Saturday, the number of new cases dipped below the 1,000 mark for the second consecutive day.

Additionally, the carrier rate was the lowest it has been since July. It is important to note, however, that fewer people tend to get tested over the weekend.

Meanwhile, 13,050 individuals are currently categorized as “active,” with 307 of them in serious condition (among them 157 on ventilators) as of Sunday morning. This figure, too, marks the lowest it has been since early August.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 1,322,652 Israelis have been infected with the virus. The number of COVID-19 deaths now stands at 8,046, after five more people died over the weekend. Since Oct. 18, the daily death toll has not exceeded six.

The number of people in Israel who are vaccinated with a third dose is now 3,896,785; while 5,712,912 people have received two jabs and 6,217,352 have received a single shot.

This report first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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