From the Jerusalem Post: As the number of Israelis with the deadly novel coronavirus continues to climb, the Israeli Defense Forces said that it is preparing for a full nationwide lockdown where troops will work with the police to enforce such orders.IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said that while no order has yet been given, should that step be necessary eight battalions of unarmed IDF troops from training bases will accompany the police in enforcing the quarantine.

The troops will act as an auxiliary force to the police who have the legal authority to enforce the lockdown.
On Sunday, Israel’s Kann reported that Israel’s Ministry of Public Security asked the IDF to provide 16 battalions. As part of the request, each police district will be assisted by two IDF battalions that will enforce the lockdown, as well as assist in supplying essential equipment.
The number of individuals diagnosed with the virus climbed to 1,656 cases by Tuesday morning. According to the Health Ministry, while the large majority of cases are mild, 31 people are in serious condition and one person has died. Another 49 people have recovered from the virus.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus in Israel last month, some 135,549 Israelis have self-isolated at home for a period of 14 days after returning from overseas or being exposed to the virus. There are currently 71,029 citizens in isolation at the moment.
Zilberman said that there are currently 23 IDF soldiers sick with coronavirus and one recovered. Another 5,600 soldiers and civilian employees of the IDF are currently in quarantine, including 240 lone soldiers who are currently being housed at a military resort facility in the northern coastal town of Givat Olga. Ynet news reported that the military will be opening another quarantine facility for lone soldiers at Beit Hachayal in Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel.

The drop in numbers of soldiers in quarantine is due to the fact that many soldiers who returned from abroad finished their isolation period and were released after they were not found to have contracted the virus, the spokesperson said.
The military will also be converting a laboratory to check soldiers for the virus to relieve the pressure from the civilian sector. The laboratory will operate like those run by the Health Ministry, but will be run by the military’s Medical Corps.
The facility at the IDF’s Tzrifin base, which is meant to identify fallen soldiers by their DNA, will initially test some 300 soldiers suspected of having the virus with plans to expand to hundreds of tests done each day on all soldiers to make sure that no unit has troops carrying the virus.
The IDF is also continuing to help Magen David Adom rescue services in testing Israelis for the coronavirus, with 150 mobile crews travelling to homes of Israelis across the country who are suspected of being ill. There are also 28 different locations where IDF troops are providing child care to health care workers who are busy in hospitals taking care of patients.
While thousands of reservists have been called in the fight against the virus, the military is not calling up doctors because they don’t want to take them away from the civilian health system.
Last week, the IDF’s Homefront Command along with the Israel Police and Health Ministry, opened two quarantine facilities in Tel Aviv’s Dan Panorama hotel and Jerusalem’s Dan hotel to isolate those diagnosed with the virus as well as provide them with medical care as needed.
The army has also converted the IDF’s holiday village at Ashkelon of “Yahad – United for Israel’s Soldiers” into an inpatient facility for soldiers who have been diagnosed with the virus.
According to Zilberman, the state has opened another facility on the Kinneret to quarantine a planeload of Israelis returning from Italy and another facility will be opened for Israelis returning from India.
Also on Wednesday, the military announced that the Israeli and US militaries will hold a joint aerial exercise in southern Israel in which F-35 fighter jets will take part.
The drill, which is part of the IDF’s regular 2020 training schedule, will begin Tuesday afternoon and last until Thursday evening and during that time residents of the area might notice a high number of fighter jets.
In a statement, the IDF said that since the drill will be held solely in the air with no person-to-person contact, it will take place despite the military’s ban on international exercises with foreign militaries due to the continued spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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