IDF mulls scrapping reserve soldiers’ training amid virus surge – report
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IDF mulls scrapping reserve soldiers’ training amid virus surge – report

Military said to also consider a strict capsule system and limiting interactions with people outside the army

Illustrative. IDF reserve soldiers training at Adam military facility. (Photo by Roy Sharon/Flash90)
Illustrative. IDF reserve soldiers training at Adam military facility. (Photo by Roy Sharon/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces is considering cancelling planned training for reserve soldiers as coronavirus cases continue to surge, the Kan public broadcaster reported Friday.

“It will be difficult to bring together a 500-member battalion from across the country and let them stay together,” an unnamed senior military official told the network.

Other options under consideration include keeping the soldiers in the so-called “capsule” system of limited, fixed groups, or to impose limits on interactions between soldiers and people outside the army.

The report did not specify any particular units that could have training scrapped or adjusted.

An illustrative photo of Israeli reserve soldiers take part in a training drill in Baf Lachish army base in southern Israel, on December 22, 2016. (Maor Kinsbursky/Flash90)

The report came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday Israel was again in the midst of a “major outbreak” as the number of active coronavirus cases in Israel passed 10,000 for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Health Ministry said there were 10,060 active cases, overtaking the previous high of 9,808 active infections recorded on April 15.

Among the active cases, 77 people were in serious condition, of whom 27 were on ventilators. Another 69 people were in serious condition and the rest had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic.

Of the 28,055 people who have been infected since the outbreak began in Israel, 17,699 have recovered. The ministry announced an additional fatality from the virus, bringing the national death toll to 326.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved the call-up of 500 IDF reservists to help combat the renewed spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was made in light of fresh assessments about the pandemic. Most of the troops will be used as staff at 10 coronavirus hotels the Defense Ministry plans to reopen to house people with light symptoms or who require preventive quarantine, Gantz’s office said in a statement.

The IDF Home Front Command was also instructed to set up headquarters in a number of Israeli cities and towns to help distribute information to residents and to safely move coronavirus patients to hospitals and hotels.

Last month a number of senior IDF officiers were sent into isolation after coming into contact with people later confirmed to be coronavirus carriers.

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