Israel recorded 8,919 more coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, its highest single-day figure since February, the country’s Health Ministry said on Thursday.

As many as 41 new coronavirus-related fatalities raised the nationwide death toll to 1,571, the ministry said in a statement.

The total number of cases now rose to 248,133, including 177,752 recoveries, the ministry said, adding 810 patients are in critical condition.

Israel returned to a total coronavirus lockdown on Sept. 18 that will last for three weeks in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that exiting the lockdown will be slow and gradual and could continue for an entire year.

“We will not repeat the rapid exit that we did in the first wave [of COVID-19],” he said.

Netanyahu called for preparing a plan to deal with 5,000 coronavirus patients expected to be in critical condition by winter.

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