IDF: Combat soldiers to be allowed home only once every 21 days

As corona numbers continue to rise, IDF places further restrictions on troops.

The IDF holds a blood drive in light of the coronavirus crisis (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The IDF holds a blood drive in light of the coronavirus crisis
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
With the number of coronavirus patients in Israel and the IDF increasing significantly over the last week, the Israeli military will be stepping up its restrictions for soldiers.
IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman told reporters that due to the increased number of infections across Israel and within the IDF, combat troops will be allowed to return home from their base only once every 21 days and will have restrictions placed on them to minimize their contact with civilians.
“We are thinking long-term,” Zilberman said, explaining that career soldiers will also face restrictions to minimize the chance that they contract the deadly virus.
A total of 208 troops are currently sick with the coronavirus, all in light condition and in coronavirus facilities. Another 5,000 IDF troops are currently in quarantine. Two weeks ago there were 69 soldiers confirmed to be sick with coronavirus and another 3,170 in quarantine.
Due to the significant rise in infected troops Zilberman said that battalion-sized reserve training would likely be halted while smaller reserve training, such as for pilots, will continue.
Troops on base will be ordered to keep a distance of two meters between each other at all times and a total of 10 people will be able to attend meetings. A maximum number of 30 troops will be able to gather in enclosed areas and a total of 50 soldiers will be allowed to gather in outdoor areas. A maximum of 100 people will be allowed into cafeterias and a total of 50 people will be allowed for ceremonies.
All military meetings, no matter the number of participants, will be done with masks. Upcoming drafts will be similar to the first wave with no civilians in attendance. No civilians will be allowed onto IDF bases.
Zilberman also told reporters that the IDF is continuing to run 11 coronavirus facilities and two other facilities are expected to open due to the continued rise in numbers. In addition, paramedics have been assigned to the Health Ministry to help carry out tests as well as man call centers, and another 350 troops will help the Health Ministry carry out epidemiological investigations.
According to the Defense Ministry, two coronavirus facilities were opened on Sunday, one in Tel Aviv intended mostly for foreign workers and another in Nir Etzion which will be for ultra-Orthodox patients. Another two are expected to be opened, one of which will be for the ultra-Orthodox.
Currently, there are some 1,463 patients at the various coronavirus facilities operated by the Defense Ministry and the IDF and another 2,000 patients are expected to be sent to them in the coming days.
The military’s lab is also continuing to carry out tests, and has increased to its maximum capacity of between 500-700 tests per day “in order to stop the chain of infections,” Zilberman said.


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