(Bloomberg) -- Israel called on employers to switch to a work-at-home footing and tightened travel restrictions as new cases of coronavirus climb, warning that it may have to impose lockdowns.

Government ministries will have 50% of staff in their offices, according to a late-Tuesday decision by the cabinet subcommittee on the coronavirus. The cabinet urged the public to stop shaking hands, embracing and kissing and avoid non-essential gatherings in closed spaces. It made a special appeal to people over 60 to avoid groups.

New infections have surged in Israel in recent weeks driven by the delta variant, with serious cases increasing as well. After an early and effective vaccination drive beginning in December, Israel became the first country last week to widely roll out booster shots in a bid to halt a resurgent spread of the virus.

Travelers returning from most countries, including the U.S., will have to quarantine, even if they’ve been fully vaccinated, the cabinet decided. There will be a “very reduced” list of “green countries” where quarantine can be shortened once a negative test result is received. The ban on travel to “red” countries continues.

“The delta pandemic is much more infectious and is leaping ahead around the world,” the virus subcommittee said in a statement. “Avoid gatherings and go get vaccinated -- now.”

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