IDF soldiers now given option to home quarantine

Following a report by 'The Jerusalem Post,' troops are given three options to safely quarantine where there will be no cross-contamination with healthy troops.

IDF technicians carry out coroanvirus testing, Israel, July 15, 2020 (photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER/FLASH90)
IDF technicians carry out coroanvirus testing, Israel, July 15, 2020
(photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER/FLASH90)
Following a report in The Jerusalem Post on Monday that parents of IDF soldiers were outraged that their conscript sons and daughters had been forced to quarantine on base, soldiers in closed units who have tested positive for coronavirus will now be given the option to quarantine at home.
On Wednesday morning, the military said that, subject to the approval of a unit commander holding the rank of at least lieutenant-colonel, home quarantine would now be offered to troops, assuming that the soldier would be able to safely isolate at home.
“It is the responsibility of the unit to ensure soldiers are adhering to home quarantine and that they undergo a coronavirus test according to procedures,” the IDF said.
In addition to home quarantining, soldiers will also have the option to quarantine on base within their unit, “provided that there are suitable conditions” as well as quarantine facilities belonging to the Personnel Division.
The change comes after several large infection outbreaks on IDF bases across the country, including Camp Dotan (Base 80), where 102 female cadets were diagnosed with the virus after a fellow cadet returned sick to base following a furlough at her parents’ home for the Rosh Hashanah holiday.
Parents of cadets blamed the military for the outbreak, saying that requests to move them to home quarantine where they would not be in contact with others were denied and that cadets who displayed symptoms had been transferred to quarters of healthy soldiers, which led to even more of them contracting the virus.
A senior officer involved in overseeing the situation at Camp Dotan explained to the Post that discussions had been held whether to let the cadets isolate at home or remain on base.
“Trust me, it’s the easiest thing for me to say ‘okay, they can quarantine at home,’ but it’s not the right move. We will pay for it,” the officer said.
“The virus is already on base, after all these days where troops are sleeping together, showering together.... If I allow these cadets to go home, then I’m allowing them to mix with the civilian population,” he continued, adding that permitting those who are sick but asymptomatic “to mix with the civilian population would be catastrophic.”
Other outbreaks were reported at the Bahad 1 officers’ training base and at the Kfir and Nahal training bases and commando brigade school, as well as on the Navy’s INS Lahav, a Sa’ar 5-class corvette.