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Israel Confirms Record-High 1,681 New COVID-19 Cases

Αssociated Press

Ultra-Orthodox Jews wear protective face masks as they gather for a protest against lockdown that has been placed in their neighborhood due to a coronavirus outbreak, in Jerusalem, Monday, July 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Health Ministry says the country has confirmed 1,681 new coronavirus cases, a record high.

Israel was widely praised for taking swift action early in the pandemic by closing its borders and imposing other restrictions to contain the virus’s spread. But since reopening the economy and schools in May following a more than monthlong lockdown, the number of new cases has steadily increased.

Health Ministry Director General Hezi Levi said Tuesday that the government is making every effort to try to avoid another countrywide lockdown.

“A general lockdown is without a doubt one of the tools that we try our utmost to avoid reaching for,” Hezi told Israel Radio, but said that it remained an option authorities are considering.

Israel has recorded a total of 41,235 cases of the coronavirus. The country currently has over 21,000 active cases and at least 368 Israelis have died from COVID-19, according to Health Ministry figures.