Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a series of new measures in connection with the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and said that there would be no total lockdown in the country.

“The transition of the public sector to the format of the state of emergency, the private sector is switching to a reduced format, state services – in the full format”, Netanyahu said. “We do not lock people at home. I’m not talking about a total lockdown, I hope we will not get to this”, he announced, adding that a local quarantine was possible.

According to the Israeli Health Ministry, 298 Israelis were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, the condition of four of them is assessed as serious.

On March 11 , the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the coronavirus disease a pandemic.

More than 181,000 people in 150 countries and territories have been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, and over 7,100 have died since the virus was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei province, last December. In Europe, the most coronavirus-affected country is Italy.

As the coronavirus outbreak is raging around the world, governments have advised citizens to stay at home, avoid visiting public places, including eating in cafes and restaurants and rely instead on delivery services.