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Israel to hold first ever pandemic drill

Israel to conduct a National COVID Drill to examine nationwide readiness for the outbreak of a new lethal COVID-19 variant; this national drill is the first of its kind in the world.

The drill will be conducted in the format of war-games and be called “Omega Drill”.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said: “The State of Israel is in an excellent situation. We beat the fourth wave and we are on our way toward exiting the Delta variant. However, at the same time, we are always looking ahead and preparing for the continuation of the campaign. We are not ‘closing up shop’. Neither are we closing down the management systems and the order of battle against the virus. On the contrary, we are continuing to hold drills and to challenge ourselves. While the situation of coronavirus in the world is deteriorating, Israel is safe and protected. In order to maintain this, and to safeguard the continuity of normal life, we must continue to closely monitor the situation and prepare for any scenario.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will lead a national drill tomorrow (Thursday, 11 November 2021), that will test nationwide preparations for the outbreak of a new, lethal, COVID-19 variant.

The exercise, which will be run by Defense Ministry Director of Civil Defense Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Edri, will be held at the National Management Center in Jerusalem, which is designed for the management of nationwide crises. Among the participants will be government ministry director generals, representatives of the professional agencies, the national coronavirus project manager, the Director of the Public Health Service, the Chairperson of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and representatives of the National Security Council and the IDF (including Home Front Command).

The drill will be conducted in the format of a war-game and will consist of a senior-level, inter-organizational simulation that tests the national management of a new strain, the ‘Omega’ strain, that has yet to be discovered in the State of Israel.

In order to simulate a real situation, the exercise will be held in three sessions that will simulate the passage of time between the various scenarios.

Ministerial and inter-ministerial assessments will be held in the framework of which the data will be reviewed and recommendations for action will be presented. After these, a comprehensive assessment will be held during which the Prime Minister will issue instructions to all agencies for continued action.

The drill will deal with several aspects and will test the professional systems in extreme situations over the stages of the exercise:

• Policy aspects: Restricting gatherings, restricting movement, quarantine policy, event plans (holidays, etc.), selected or nationwide lockdowns/curfews and tourism.

• Health aspects: Monitoring, follow-up, oversight and warnings during the development of a new and dangerous variant, continuity, testing the protection provided by vaccines, epidemiological investigations, tests, hospital capacity, designated procurement, the carrying out of mass-testing, vaccines (booster doses, other vaccines, etc.)

• Legal aspects: Local or regional lockdowns/curfews, restrictions policy, approval of designated regulations

• Economic aspects: Assisting the national effort, economic support for the population

• Public security aspects: Enforcement of quarantines, local lockdowns/curfews, enforcement of regulations

• The education system: Safeguarding the health of pupils, reducing the size of classes, closing schools in outbreak centers, changing education plans (capsules, remote learning)

• Ben-Gurion International Airport and the border crossings: Departure and arrival policy, control, selective closings.

• Public diplomacy and media: Informing the public and increasing transparency, responding to discourse on the internet, simulating the National Public Diplomacy Directorate

Source: Arutz Sheva