IDF Reopens 500-Bed Quarantine Facility in Ashkelon

Israeli Army technicians carry out a diagnostic test for the coronavirus in an IDF lab in central Israel, Wednesday. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

The Israeli military which, along with the rest of the country, has been reeling from the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, on Thursday announced the reopening of a 500-bed facility in Ashkelon for its troops.

Currently, the number of IDF soldiers diagnosed with COVID-19 is put at 663, all in light condition, with another 11,500 in quarantine.

The Ashkelon facility expects 200-250 patients to arrive by late Thursday, and that it will reach full capacity in the next few days, according to IDF spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman. Two more such facilities can be opened in Haifa if necessary.

Meanwhile, he said the IDF was taking additional measures to contain the spread of the virus among the troops. No soldier on furlough will be allowed to gather with groups of over five people except for immediate family, among other restrictions.

The military’s lab is carrying out 500-700 tests per day, looking to increase to 1,000 tests, Zilberman said.

The army’s call center where troops can ask for a test has also increased its capacity and has brought the wait time down from close to half an hour to five and half minutes.

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