Third IDF general goes into quarantine after coming close to coronavirus carrier
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Third IDF general goes into quarantine after coming close to coronavirus carrier

Head of military’s Teleprocessing and Cyber Defense directorate, along with others from unit, go into self-isolation; 15% of the IDF’s major generals now in isolation

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Maj. Gen. Lior Carmeli, right, shakes hands with the outgoing commander of the IDF's Digital Transformation Administration, Brig. Gen. Omer Dagan, at a ceremony at the military's Tel Aviv headquarters on November 7, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)
FILE: Maj. Gen. Lior Carmeli, right, shakes hands with the outgoing commander of the IDF's Digital Transformation Administration, Brig. Gen. Omer Dagan, at a ceremony at the military's Tel Aviv headquarters on November 7, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

A third IDF major general and a fourth brigadier general were forced to go into quarantine on Thursday after coming into contact last week with someone later confirmed to be a coronavirus carrier, the Israel Defense Forces said.

According to the military, Maj. Gen. Lior Carmeli, the head of the IDF Teleprocessing and Cyber Defense Directorate, and the head of the [Cyber] Defense Division, who can only be identified by his rank and first Hebrew letter of his name — Brig. Gen. “Dalet” — along with other senior officers in the unit were “near an IDF soldier who recently tested positive as being sick with the coronavirus.”

Carmeli is the third IDF General Staff member to enter self-isolation in the past two days — 15 percent of the IDF’s major generals — after the head of the IDF Southern Command Herzi Halevi and the incoming head of the IDF Central Command Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai, came into contact with confirmed coronavirus carriers in two separate cases and were sent into quarantine Wednesday, along with three brigadier generals: Eliezer Toledano, Gur Schreibman and David Zini.

Head of the IDF Southern Command Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi oversees an operation to assassinate Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata on November 12, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

In addition, several members of the Shin Bet security service who attended the meeting with Halevi, Toledano and Schreibman also entered quarantine on Wednesday “in accordance with Health Ministry directives,” a spokesperson for the agency said.

The military said Carmeli planned to continue working from quarantine as much as possible.

The IDF said he and the other officers “felt good, had no symptoms and would be tested shortly.”

The Israel Defense Forces said Yadai would quarantine inside his home, though he too would “attempt to maintain his regular schedule, as much as possible.” In the past, top officers who were forced to self-isolate generally did so from their offices in order to be better able to continue their work during the period.

Home Front Command chief Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai in 2018 (YouTube screenshot)

As of Tuesday, 25 IDF officers, soldiers and employees were sick with the coronavirus. In addition, 1,832 service members were in quarantine, the military said.

In total in Israel, the number of active cases passed 4,000 as of Thursday morning, with 257 fresh cases since the previous day — the highest figure since April 22 — after having dipped below 2,000 earlier this month. The renewed outbreak came after it had appeared to fade, with the country having reopened many parts of its economy with plans to allow for more businesses to begin operating again.

Among the sick, 39 were in serious condition, 32 of whom were on ventilators. That was up from 27 people requiring ventilation Wednesday morning, though separate figures from the National Security Council put the number of people on ventilators at 28.

No new fatalities were reported, with the death toll remaining at 303.

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