Omicron Shuts Down IDF Reserve Exercises

YERUSHALAYIM -
Infantry soldiers take part in a tank brigade maneuver in the Golan Heights, earlier this month. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

In light of the outbreak of coronavirus in the IDF, all exercises for reservists were canceled on Tuesday for the rest of the month in a move to contain the spread, The Times of Israel reported.

The military said it will also be limiting leave time for combat soldiers over the next two weeks to ensure adequate force levels in case of need, a senior officer told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

As of Tuesday, there were more than 6,000 soldiers, officers and civilian employees of the military diagnosed with covid, which included more than 1,000 new cases in 24 hours.

Soldiers serving in so-called “closed units,” who sleep on base, will be required to quarantine at a military facility if they come into contact with an infected person, instead of quarantining at home as they have been permitted to until now. Soldiers who do not typically sleep on base will still be allowed to quarantine at home, the military said.

In further restrictions, the IDF is reducing gatherings and ceremonies, and barring civilians from attending them altogether. Civilians will be barred from military bases, except for those “providing critical services,” the IDF said.

Among those tested positive were two major generals—Yaniv Assur and Ghassan Alian—it was announced on Monday.

Also on Tuesday, Israel Railways announced a reduction in trains on the Ashkelon-Beersheva route due to a staff shortage caused by many employees testing positive for COVID.

Trains on the route will run once an hour instead of twice an hour, and service for the day will end earlier than usual.

Meanwhile, train and buses at Ben Gurion Airport resumed normal service on Tuesday, as restrictions on air travel are relaxed.