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IDF corona restrictions – should soldiers prepare for lockdown?

CM 28/08/2021

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The Health Ministry published a new list of regulations for the IDF in handling the coronavirus outbreak in Israel, which is seeing its fourth wave of the virus while simultaneously rolling out the third booster shot for its adult citizens. 
Similarly to the national guidelines, the IDF rules focus on minimizing mass infections and managing isolations.
So what does this mean for servicemen getting ready for another week at their base? Will they be home next Saturday? Here are the new instructions:


  • Servicemen and medical staff above 30, as well as soldiers with a medical recommendation for the shot, can receive the third COVID vaccination as long as five months have transpired since their second jab.


  • Gatherings are restricted to 500 participants in an open area.
  • No food is allowed during indoor meetings.
  • All ceremonies are to be conducted outside in an open space, with a maximum of 50% capacity.
  • At events with over 500 participants – such as the Officers Graduating Ceremony at Bahad 1 or other end-of-training ceremonies where parents and family members are invited to come and see their soldier receive his or her badge or beret – invitees must present a Green Pass or negative COVID PCR test.
  • Children of career soldiers are not allowed into the army bases. The only exception is newborn children to breastfeeding mothers, at the approval of the commanding officer.
  • Families are not permitted entry into the recruitment base.
  • Service and infrastructure workers are allowed entry into bases only after receiving clearance.
  • Gyms will only operate in closed bases only, and training will be permitted by capsules according to companies and available to vaccinated soldiers or those who have recovered from COVID.
The most difficult challenge in dealing with IDF soldiers in regards to corona is how to handle leaves. Battalions of soldiers live and operate closely together throughout the week, leave and see their families over Shabbat, and then return to close quarters. Will soldiers remain in lockdown?
 Israeli soldiers (credit: IDF) Israeli soldiers (credit: IDF)
For now, the guidelines say no. However, under these instructions, a weekly situation assessment will take place with the Commander of the Operations Directorate or the deputy Chief of Staff, and this decision could still change before the holidays.
In the meantime, what happens to a soldier who came into contact with a positive COVID patient? According to the regulations, said soldier would need to be removed from the unit and transferred in a specified unit vehicle – not on public transportation – to a location where he or she can remain isolated. Lone soldiers will be able to isolate at an army site after coordinating the isolation with their unit’s HR command.
What about trips abroad? Soldiers require the approval of their Command Officer to leave the country and need a 24-hour isolation upon their return, pending a negative test. Red (banned) countries are off-limits to servicemen. Soldiers can only travel there for “operational requirements”, under orders of the head of the Operations Directorate and needing seven or 14 days of isolation when they return.
Additionally, each unit, from a battalion upwards, must establish a team to monitor the implementation of these regulations.
The IDF has seen a rise in numbers parallel to the rest of the country, with over 2,000 active cases as of last week.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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