Israel to Hold Exercise Preparing for Possible Outbreak of a New COVID Strain


Israel will hold a national exercise on Thursday that will examine national preparations for a possible outbreak of a new deadly strain of the coronavirus. The exercise will be held in the format of a “war game” and has been named “Omega Exercise.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that “Israel is in excellent shape, we have defeated the fourth wave and we are on the verge of leaving the Delta strain. But at the same time, we are always looking to the future and preparing for the continuation of the campaign. We do not fold equipment. We continue to practice and challenge ourselves.

“While in the world the situation of the corona is deteriorating, Israel is safe and secure. In order to maintain this, and to continue the routine of life, we must keep our finger on the pulse and prepare for any scenario,” he added.

The exercise, which will be led by the Defense Ministry’s Commissioner for Defense Brigadier General (Res.) Moshe Edri, will be held at the National Administration Center in Yerushalayim, designed to manage crises at the national level, and will be attended by directors of government ministries and representatives of professional bodies, including the corona commissioner, Head of Public Health Services at the Ministry of Health Dr. Sharon Elrai Price, Chairman of the Constitution Committee MK Gilad Karib, representatives of the National Security Headquarters (National Security Council), and representatives of the IDF, the Home Front Command and more.

As stated, the exercise will be carried out in the format of a “war game” as an inter-organizational simulation at senior levels for the purpose of practicing national coping with a new strain – the “omega” strain – that has not yet been discovered in Israel.

In order to simulate a real situation, the exercise will be held in three sessions that simulate a transition between the different scenarios. In the meantime, there will be ministerial and inter-ministerial situation assessments, in which the data will be reviewed and recommendations for action will be presented, and in the end there will be a comprehensive situation assessment, during which the Prime Minister will summarize and guide all bodies to continue activities.

The exercise will deal with a number of aspects, and the various professional mechanisms will be examined under extreme situations along different stages. Aspects that will be examined include the policy of dealing with the virus, as well as health, legal, economic and internal security aspects, including the enforcement of isolations. In addition, ways of dealing with the epidemic in the education system and Ben Gurion Airport will be examined. Another aspect that will be practiced is the transfer of information to the public and increased transparency.