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IDF punishes officers, expels 2 cadets from course over virus outbreak on base

  • September 25, 2020

The Israel Defense Forces announced Thursday that a number of officers were disciplined and two cadets were expelled from a course over a coronavirus outbreak at an officer training base in the south of the country.

According to the IDF, a number of protocols were broken that were put in place to prevent such an event, including the soldiers belatedly reporting symptoms and a failure to question cadets on their health.

The battalion commander was given a written warning, a company commander will no longer work in their role, several team commanders were disciplined and punished, and two cadets who did not report symptoms were expelled from the course, the IDF said in a statement.

The IDF said earlier this month 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.

The IDF said Thursday there were 896 soldiers and military employees infected with coronavirus, and a further 13,038 were in isolation.

Thousands of Home Front Command soldiers were deployed last week throughout the country to work with local authorities in handling the pandemic. The soldiers are not responsible for directly enforcing the lockdown; rather, they conduct tests, run quarantine hotels and distribute food.

The IDF is also sending hundreds of additional soldiers to work as coronavirus contact tracers. Transferring responsibility for contact tracing over to the IDF was one of coronavirus czar Ronnie Gamzu’s first moves after taking on his position. In early September, Gamzu said that the program might not be operational until November 1.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday ordered the IDF to prepare to establish a field hospital for coronavirus cases as hospitals overflow across the country.

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