Thursday, 1 October 2020 | In terms of size, Israel is approximately the size of the state of New Jersey. Yet this relatively small country holds great demographic and geographic diversity. Therefore, every region, town and municipality faces very different battles in the fight against COVID-19. As the country [is currently in lockdown], the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] is assisting in a multitude of ways.
The IDF Home Front Command [HFC], under the command of Maj.–Gen. Ori Gordin, has aided civilians for months through a nationwide network of coronavirus treatment centers. However, a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, especially in specific areas referred to as “red zones,” has led the HFC to take on a more intensive role in the national efforts against the virus.
These efforts include assisting isolated elderly populations, opening additional drive-in testing centers and increasing the number of at-home testing kits. The HFC is also using their transportation and planning networks to accelerate the pace at which tests are transported to laboratories and expanding efforts to transport patients to quarantine and recovery facilities.
In addition to these efforts, over 2,000 soldiers have been enlisted to take part in one of the Home Front Command’s most crucial tasks—to break the chain of COVID-19 infections through the operation of an Epidemiological Investigations Task Force called “Alon.”
The Epidemiological Investigations Task Force has a digital system that was developed by Unit 8200 and the Computer Service and Cyber Defense Directorate. This system updates civilians in real time about the condition of their health and the status of their tests, while also providing them with precise instructions on how to keep themselves and others safe.
“Like a delivery from Amazon, each citizen will be updated at every stage, from when they are tested to the date that they finish isolation, directly via their cell phone,” says Maj.–Gen. Gordin, commander of the Home Front Command.
The Israel Defense Forces is also closely collaborating with local authorities all over Israel to enforce quarantine measures. Already, approximately 500 soldiers have been mobilized to assist the Israeli Police in enforcing social distancing. Working locally, soldiers have distributed information leaflets about COVID-19 and held on-site training for employees of multiple businesses.
On September 6, 2020, Maj.–Gen. Gordin visited Kafr Qasim, an Arab Israeli municipality. Together with the mayor of Kafr Qasim and municipality representatives, Maj.–Gen. Gordin conducted a situational assessment to prepare for the possibility of enacting measures to reduce the exposure rate and developed a plan to help the municipality move from a high-risk area, or a “red zone” to a lower risk “green zone.” Since then, the municipality has reduced the morbidity rate of civilians with COVID-19 by 50%.
Adel Badir, the mayor of Kfar Qasim, remarked: “Together with the Home Front Command, we made a plan, and I think it will help Kfar Qasim to reach the status of a ‘green’ city. We’re going in a good direction, and I believe we’ll become a ‘green’ city, but our challenge will be to remain a ‘green’ city.”
IDF soldiers will continue to aid civilians until the threat of COVID-19 has been lowered, as they have since the outbreak began. The IDF has always been responsible for protecting the state of Israel, and a pandemic is no exception.
Posted on October 1, 2020
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published on the Israel Defense Forces website on September 16, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
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