IDF says 30 infected in virus outbreak on officer training base

Military said to believe two cadets contracted coronavirus while on furlough and then passed it on to other soldiers

Illustrative image of Bahad 1, undated (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative image of Bahad 1, undated (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces announced Friday that 30 people were infected with the coronavirus in an outbreak on an officer training base in the south of the country.

The IDF said in a statement that two cadets on the “Bahad 1” base initially tested positive for the infection, sending dozens of people into isolation.

Subsequent tests found that 30 people were carrying the virus. All of them were said to be in a mild condition or not showing any symptoms.

Sources within the IDF told Channel 12 news that it was thought that the soldiers contracted the virus while on furlough.

IDF troops deliver food to residents of the city of Bnei Brak in central Israel, which is largely closed off from the rest of the country due to a coronavirus outbreak, on April 5, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)

According to the Walla news site, 90 people in the IDF were diagnosed with the coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total number of carriers in the military to 382.

During the first wave earlier this year, the IDF enacted a number of restrictions and protocols to try to reduce transmission within the military.

The IDF said in June it was returning to a “capsule” system, whereby efforts would be made to keep soldiers on shifts serving with the same personnel, to limit exposure to multiple people.

Israel now has the highest rate of daily new coronavirus infections per capita in the world, according to figures aired by Israeli television on Thursday.

The figures reported by Channels 12 and 13 cited data from Johns Hopkins University, showing Israel averaged 199.3 new cases a day per 1 million residents in the week ending on September 2.

According to the latest Health Ministry figures, there have been 125,755 infections since the pandemic began, with 25,277 active cases as of Friday morning.

With six fatalities overnight, the death toll rose to 991.

Of those currently infected, 416 people were in serious condition, with 123 Israelis on ventilators. Another 131 people were in moderate condition and the rest had mild or no symptoms.

The Health Ministry said 34,586 tests for coronavirus were administered Thursday.

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