An IDF investigation into the coronavirus outbreak on the Kfir Brigade’s training base – in which over 50 soldiers were infected with the virus – found that it stemmed from three soldiers who returned to base after a furlough at home.
The investigation was carried out by the commander of the 99th Division, Brig.-Gen. Avi Rosenfeld, in order to examine the chain of events in the incident, which came shortly after the military disciplined several officers, including the commander of the Bahad 1 officers training academy, after an outbreak hit the school.
The conclusion of Rosenfeld’s investigation found that the center of illness at the base, which has about 2,000 soldiers, was “the result of three different cases of infection, all of which have a common source of infection, which occurred while the soldiers were on vacation at home more than two weeks ago,” the military said.
The investigation found that the last source of the virus on the base was a soldier who returned from furlough at home and later learned that his father had been diagnosed with coronavirus. The soldier was sent home to quarantine “immediately,” and the military took steps to perform tests for all troops with whom he had been in contact.
As a result, several dozen soldiers were found positive for coronavirus. All are in light condition and were sent to a military coronavirus facility to recover.
On Tuesday, 60 tests were performed, with 50 returning positive. Dozens of other soldiers were reported to have tested positive for coronavirus on the base, and another 400 soldiers were in quarantine on the base.
Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi visited the base just last week in a surprise inspection, due to it being listed as a “red base.”
In his investigation, Rosenfeld noted that, while he found a number of shortcomings regarding the manner in which the soldiers were received at the base when they returned from home, he “did not find any significant negligence in the manner of the handling of the incident from the moment the commanders learned” of the soldier’s situation, the IDF said.
He emphasized that it is the “commanders’ responsibility for maintaining the health of troops and the readiness of their unit as well as the personal responsibility of each soldier in adhering to the guidelines and procedures” and instructed commanders to continue to take all necessary action to prevent further outbreaks of the deadly virus.
Similar to the outbreak at the Kfir training base, the August outbreak at the Bahad 1 officer’s training academy saw 30 cadets infected with the deadly coronavirus after two soldiers who had been on furlough returned to the base and did not inform their commanders of their health.
According to the findings of the investigation, the reason behind the outbreak was due in part to the late reporting of symptoms by the two cadets who returned to base sick, as well as neglect by their superiors to properly question the cadets about their health.
The IDF said on Tuesday night that 1,164 service members have been diagnosed with coronavirus, all of them in light condition. Another 10,765 are in quarantine.
Eve Young contributed to this report.