IDF's Coronavirus Command to begin operations on Thursday

Led by Brig.-Gen. Nissan Davidi, it will work to cut the chain of infection

IDF soldiers in Beitar Illit delivering food packages to those in need.  (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
IDF soldiers in Beitar Illit delivering food packages to those in need.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
The IDF’s Coronavirus Command, led by Brig.-Gen. Nissan Davidi, will begin operations on Thursday in an attempt to cut the chain of infections and bring the coronavirus pandemic under control.
The Coronavirus Command led by the Homefront Command will include other bodies in the military, Defense Ministry, Health Ministry as well as local municipalities as well as an advisory group of experts assisting Prof. Ronni Gamzu, the government’s coronavirus czar.
On Monday IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi approved the plan of the command, following discussions with Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir and the head of the Homefront Command Maj.-Gen. Uri Gordin.
It will be led by Davidi, who Gordin said “is the right man for the job” as he previously served as the chief logistics officer for the Homefront Command and other logistics-related roles. While he was supposed to retire from the military, he was nominated by Gordin and Kochavi and the nomination was approved by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Under Davidi, the Command will operate at a national level to assist in breaking the chain of infections by improving the country’s testing capacity at the same time streamlining and connecting all various government bodies and civilian organizations into one system operated by the Health Ministry.
Gordin told journalists on Tuesday that while municipalities had a minor role during the first wave, they will now have a significant role in stopping the virus.
It will also shorten laboratory processes, perform assessments and analyses of the virus for policymakers and oversee the epidemiological surveys to identify those who may have been in contact with confirmed coronavirus patients in order to quickly get them into quarantine.
According to Gordin, the Command will reduce the time of the surveys from five days to a maximum of 36 hours.
The Command will include centers, complexes including a sampling center, isolation center, hotel command center, assessment complex, information system, testing center, and an epidemiological investigation center. A central command room will also be set up with the aim of being able to provide a complete picture of the virus in the country.
With the amount of information the Command will have “will be a game-changer,” Gordin said, explaining that the digital data system will make it quicker and easier to manage.
It will be established in two stages, first for the short term based on the existing capabilities of the IDF and civilian bodies and then a headquarters will be established ahead of the winter and possible third wave of the virus.
According to Gordin, there are over 1,000 reservists currently playing a role in the Homefront Command’s response to the virus and on Sunday, Gantz approved the call-up of 3,000 reservists, mostly from the Homefront Command to assist in the formation of the Command and other aspects of the military’s pandemic response.
“We hope we will get to the winter with a lower infection rate so that we will not need to impose a closure, and I think we can do this with the Command and our system,” Gordin said. “We can break the chain of infection.”
On Tuesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a tour of the IDF Home Front Command headquarters in Ramla along with Defense Minister Benny Gantz that efforts being made to cut the chain of infections in the country.
"I was deeply impressed by the industrial enterprise here for cutting the chain of infection," Netanyahu said. "Great efforts are being made here. There is full coordination with the Health Ministry and, of course, with national coronavirus project manager Prof. Ronni Gamzu. They are working together, coordinating with mayors, and trying to create something that in my opinion does not exist in the world – the ability of cutting [the chain of infection] at a very high level, with a very great scope."