Any IDF soldier returning from abroad won't be able to serve for 14 days

All soldiers, even those who went to countries not on the Health Ministry's list, will be barred from IDF bases for two weeks.

A teenager wears a costume as a reference to coronavirus as school children dress-up marking the Jewish holiday of Purim, a celebration of the Jews' salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther, in Ashkelon, Israel March 8, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
A teenager wears a costume as a reference to coronavirus as school children dress-up marking the Jewish holiday of Purim, a celebration of the Jews' salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther, in Ashkelon, Israel March 8, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
As Israel closed it's border as fear over the spread of the novel coronavirus continues to rattle the world, any IDF soldier returning from trips abroad will not be allowed to serve for two weeks, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman announced on Monday.
While the soldiers who return from travel abroad will not be able to return to duty they will not have to be in quarantine unless returning from countries affected from the novel coronavirus.
“They don’t need to be in quarantine, but they can’t come to military bases,” Zilberman told reporters.
As of Monday afternoon 2,100 IDF soldiers have entered quarantine (including a battalion commander), the majority of whom recently returned from vacations overseas or came into contact with someone who was diagnosed with the virus. Another 300 soldiers have returned to their units after spending two weeks in quarantine. One female soldier has so far been diagnosed with the virus.
On Friday, the IDF announced that no IDF soldier would be able to leave Israel in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The decision was made by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi in accordance with the Health Ministry’s guidelines and following a situational assessment with the military’s General Staff.
According to Zilberman, Kochavi and other senior officials held a two hour long assessment on Monday morning regarding the continued spread of the virus in Israel and decided to maintain the strict approach to reduce the number of soldiers exposed to the virus in order to maintain the IDF’s operational readiness, which is essential to the security of the State of Israel.
The spokesman said that while the virus has not yet caused a major disruption to the IDF’s activities, there are concerns that it may in the future.
As such, the military has placed restrictions on events, ceremonies, conferences and gatherings with events in closed areas limited to 100 people and outdoors events limited to 500 people. While civilian family members will not be allowed to attend military events such as graduation ceremonies, Zilberman said that the military will work to put in place other options to watch such as live streaming on Facebook.
Individuals from abroad who arrived from Europe this week to volunteer at IDF bases will return to their countries, and future groups have been instructed not to come to Israel until further notice.
The military is also preparing for if they are called up to take part in national measures along with various government ministries concerning the virus by holding war games to understand how to prepare accordingly.
The IDF is also making preparations for the future use of military facilities to care for those diagnosed with the virus, to assist both the civilian population as well as the police to enforce quarantine and the need to assist the county in providing medical supplies and food if needed.
With some 20 confirmed cases of the virus diagnosed in the West Bank, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett was reported on Sunday to be mulling imposing a full closure on the West Bank due to the spread of the virus.
But on Monday Zilberman said that there are no current plans to impose a full closure following the end of the Purim holiday. Nevertheless the closure imposed on Bethlehem in coordination with the Palestinian Authority remains in place until further notice.
Nevertheless, the Defense Ministry said that Bennett has instructed the military to present a report on the economic implications of a possible full closure of the West Bank.
During a situational assessment on Monday morning with various senior government and military officials, Bennett was presented with various scenarios of crisis exacerbation and the manner in which they could be managed by the defense establishment if deemed necessary.
Bennett instructed the defense ministry to assist the health ministry in procuring medical and sanitation equipment, specifically mobile sanitation equipment, as well as assistance in bringing in supplies from overseas by air, continued research regarding the virus and measures to deal with it.


Tags quarantine