search

In world 1st, Israel to hold national drill to prepare for future COVID variants

With virus numbers down, PM Bennett says Israel is not ‘packing up’ management bodies and pandemic-fighting forces yet

Illustrative: Shaare Zedek staff and an IDF Home Front Command soldier are seen in a monitoring room in the Coronavirus ward of the hospital in Jerusalem. October 14, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Illustrative: Shaare Zedek staff and an IDF Home Front Command soldier are seen in a monitoring room in the Coronavirus ward of the hospital in Jerusalem. October 14, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israel will hold a nationwide drill on Thursday to prepare for the possibility of future coronavirus variants, the Prime Minister’s Office announced, saying the exercise would be the first of its kind in the world.

“The State of Israel is in an excellent situation, we defeated the fourth wave and we are on the verge of exiting the Delta variant,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement. “But, at the same time, we are always looking to the future and preparing for the continuation of the campaign.”

Bennett said that the government and health officials “are not packing up our equipment and not shutting down our management bodies and our virus-fighting forces. Rather the opposite — we’re continuing to be prepared and to challenge ourselves.”

The drill, to be run from a situation room in Jerusalem, will be a simulation that deals with coordinating various high-level officials and bodies to prepare for a new COVID strain, nicknamed the “Omega” strain for the purposes of the exercise.

The gathered officials are to deal with a wide range of scenarios and work to coordinate and make decisions related to the restriction of movement, quarantine, education, air travel and more.

The drill comes as Israel is apparently exiting its fourth wave of coronavirus infection.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at a special Knesset session held in memory of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, on November 8, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the country dropped to 6,450 after being above 10,000 for over three months and after passing 90,000 in early September, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Health Ministry.

The data also showed 475 new cases were confirmed on Tuesday, down from between 5,000 and 6,000 daily almost two months ago. There were 147 people hospitalized in serious condition and the death toll stood at 8,133.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed