Army says all soldiers returning from abroad won’t be allowed at bases

The Israel Defense Forces says it is adopting stricter restrictions on troops and military installations and is preparing to roll out more as it fears the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

In total, some 2,100 soldiers are currently in quarantine, most of them due to personal trips abroad, including a battalion commander. Another 300 have completed their required two-week isolation and returned to their units. One soldier has so far been diagnosed with the disease.

IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says the coronavirus has not yet caused a major disruption to the IDF’s activities, though there are concerns that it may in the future.

Illustrative. IDF soldiers near the scene of a shooting attack near the northern West Bank Ariel Junction on March 17, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

According to Zilberman, while individual soldiers are being affected by the quarantining, their units are able to continue as normal.

As part of the military’s new limitations, any soldier returning from a trip abroad — regardless of the country — will be barred from their unit for two weeks.

“They don’t need to be in quarantine, but they can’t come to the IDF,” Zilberman says.

— Judah Ari Gross

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