IDF halts coronavirus testing in Gaza

The decision due to coordination issues inside the army,

Security forces loyal Hamas, wearing personal protective equipment as a precaution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, check the papers of an intensive care ambulance at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 13, 2020, after the crossing was temporarily r (photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)
Security forces loyal Hamas, wearing personal protective equipment as a precaution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, check the papers of an intensive care ambulance at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 13, 2020, after the crossing was temporarily r
(photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has ordered a stop to testing for COVID-19 in the Gaza Strip, Maariv reported. 
Previously, the IDF had said that it would conduct about 50 tests per day for Gaza residents at the military laboratory in Tzrifin. The decision to cancel testing was made after the IDF's initiative was not approved on the government level, and Bennett was not notified of the decision due to coordination issues inside the army, Maariv said. In total, only about 100 tests were done over the course of two days. 
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi had appointed his deputy, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir, to head a special team to develop a plan to run coronavirus testing and offer humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Under the plan, the IDF would do the testing, and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) would bring the tests through Erez Crossing to be done in Tzrifin. 
However, coordination between these two bodies broke down somewhere in the process, and the project was halted, Maariv explained. 
According to the report, officials across the board stressed the importance of doing effective testing in Gaza, and expressed frustration with the plan's failure. There was agreement that the failure lied in coordination issues, and not Bennett's decision. 
Hamas officials have warned of a “catastrophe” if the virus spreads among the two million Palestinians living there.
No word was given on when or how testing will be restarted. 


Tags Gaza IDF