Israel extends COVID-19 lockdown despite mass vaccination drive
AFP Staff
Published Wednesday, January 20, 2021 2:05PM EST Last Updated Wednesday, January 20, 2021 2:16PM EST

JERUSALEM -- The Israeli government decided Tuesday to extend the country's coronavirus lockdown to the end of the month after a spike in infections, despite an intensive vaccination campaign.

Israel began its third lockdown in late December and tightened it on January 8, with officials saying at the time it would be lifted after two weeks if the daily caseload decreased sufficiently.

Since the rollout of vaccinations one month ago, the Jewish state had innoculated more than 2.2 million of its nine million inhabitants, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Tuesday.

In return for rapid delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Israel has committed to sharing with the US-German manufacturer its data on the effects of the mass immunisation.

Despite the speedy operation, Israel said Tuesday it had logged a daily record of a little more than 10,000 new cases in the preceeding 24 hours.

As he headed into the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the figures meant there could be no easing yet...