Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Israel holds ‘war drill’ in case of new Covid strain

The simulation covered different aspects of a crisis, including mass inoculation, ordering curfews and imposing a flight ban.

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In what it called a world first, Israel on Thursday held a “war game drill” in case of an outbreak of a new lethal variant of Covid-19.

Civilian and military officials took part in the exercises, named “Omega” after the supposed strain, held at Jerusalem’s nuclear blast-proof National Management Center.

The simulation covered different aspects of a crisis, including mass inoculation, ordering curfews and imposing a flight ban, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office 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… We are not ‘closing up shop’,” it said.

Bennett, on a visit to the centre, said the biggest threat was “what we do not know yet, more dangerous and more contagious variants of Delta that are resistant to the vaccine that can crop up all of a sudden”.

“In order to simulate a real situation”, the drill – a “first of its kind in the world” – was organised in three sessions to reflect the passage of time between various scenarios.

Israel was the first country to launch a mass booster campaign during the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 3.9 million people getting a third dose since the summer.

In late August and early September, however, cases of Covid infection rose to more than 10,000 a day, a number that has since fallen to just a few hundred.

About 80% of Israel’s nine-million population have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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