Israel has called upon the Ministry of Defense and the Israeli army (IDF) to help in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. The IDF has been deployed to open quarantine and rehabilitation facilities for citizens with coronavirus. The Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv and the Dan Hotel in Jerusalem have been converted and now stand ready to care for civilians affected by the virus.
As of yesterday, March 17, 4,267 soldiers and 103 civilian IDF contractors are in quarantine according to the IDF spokesperson. So far only six IDF soldiers have contracted the coronavirus and all those who are suspected of having come into contact with them has been placed in quarantine.
In response to the coronavirus crisis in the Palestinian territories, the IDF is conducting joint medical training sessions with the Palestinian Authority. The IDF is also transferring test kits and disinfectant materials for the citizens living in the Palestinian territories.
In order to protect soldiers, the IDF has implemented the following strict requirements in order to make sure the spread of the coronavirus does not paralyze the IDF and endanger the entire nation. As you can see, some of these restrictions will be extremely difficult to implement in the army and others risk compromising the ability of the IDF to respond to an imminent threat.
- Any soldier suspected of coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus will be placed in a 14-day home quarantine.
- All meetings in the IDF are limited to 10 people, gatherings in closed spaces are limited to 30 people, and gatherings in open spaces are limited to 100.
- All soldiers are expected to maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from one another.
- Civilians are not permitted to enter IDF bases unless in exceptional circumstances with explicit approval.
- All exercises with foreign militaries have been canceled for the month of March.
- All soldiers serving in closed bases, combat units and training bases are to remain on base for an extended period of up to one month.
- Any soldier who has been in contact with someone in quarantine will not be able to enter bases that are crucial to the security of Israel.
- All preliminary testing periods (for combat) have been canceled until further notice. All First Call-Ups—and tests—have been delayed until after Passover.
- The IDF will provide means of transport for soldiers between bases in different Commands and has instructed all soldiers to limit their use of public transportation.
- All soldiers serving on open bases will work in shifts to limit contact between one another.
- At the end of each workday and shift, each base will be thoroughly disinfected as instructed by the Operations Directorate.