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Israel holds national drill to prepare for future COVID variants

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett sits in the 'war room' during a drill to prepare for future COVID variants on November 11, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett sits in the 'war room' during a drill to prepare for future COVID variants on November 11, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)

A variety of Israeli governmental bodies are taking part in a national “war game drill” to prepare for future COVID variants.

“We are holding a war game drill for a strain of a new variant that does not yet exist but which we are preparing for,” says Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. “Just like the Delta strain broke out violently, other, even more deadly and more infectious, strains could come, which could bypass the vaccine.”

The drill, run out of a situation room in Jerusalem, is 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 drill. The gathered officials will 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.

“While it is possible to wait and see what will be and to hope for the best,” says Bennett, “the right thing to do is to prepare for any scenario, and make sure that all government ministries are ready, that hospitals know how to deal with extreme scenarios and that the scientists are carefully monitoring every variant that appears in the world while it is still small.”

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