Orna Barbivay
Orna BarbivayYossi Zeliger/Flash90

Economy Minister Orna Barbivay (Yesh Atid) on Thursday spoke about the efforts to prevent the spread of Omicron, the newest COVID-19 variant, in Israel.

"No one is planning a lockdown," she told Reshet Bet. "If we reach one, then apparently, we did not act correctly, the public did not cooperate, or not enough people got vaccinated."

"Specifically because we know that the variant is on its way, we want to prevent infection and death. I see great willingness to cooperate on the part of businesses."

On Wednesday, Israel's Health Ministry confirmed that there are currently 221 verified cases of Omicron in Israel, and that 775 more are suspected.

On Tuesday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett confirmed that a fifth wave has begun and that Israel cannot prevent it, but emphasized that, "Our goal is enable the State of Israel to get through the Omicron wave while maintaining the functioning of the economy as much as possible."