Israeli Health Ministry Director General Hezi Levi said on Sunday morning that the country’s third COVID-19 lockdown will not be extended past Jan. 31, and hopefully, starting on that date the gradual exit from the lockdown can begin.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, however, emphasized that the country is not out of the woods just yet.

The COVID-19 morbidity rate was decreasing but very slowly, he said, adding that while this was likely due mostly to the spread of new, highly contagious variants of the virus, failure to adhere to lockdown guidelines was also playing a part. The health minister called on Israelis to obey Health Ministry directives.

Nearly 1,000 (998) Israelis have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the year, the ministry reported Sunday—the highest monthly death toll since the onset of the pandemic. October saw 961 COVID fatalities.

According to ministry data, the infection rate stood at 8 percent on Saturday.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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