Israeli leaders hide in bunker during COVID-19 exercise – Community News
Covid-19

Israeli leaders hide in bunker during COVID-19 exercise

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrives to receive a third shot of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, as Israel launches booster shots for more than 40-year-olds in Israel’s Kfar Saba on August 20, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

JERUSALEM, Nov. 11 (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and senior aides holed up in a war bunker on Thursday during an exercise that simulated an outbreak of a deadly new COVID-19 variant.

He described the day-long “Omega Drill,” named after a fictional strain of virus, as a precautionary measure to ensure Israel was prepared for “any scenario.”

The nuclear explosion-proof complex in the Jerusalem hills, known as the “National Management Center”, was also used to coordinate the first responses to the novel coronavirus in March 2020.

Israel has imposed lockdowns to try to tame three waves of COVID-19 but has kept the economy and schools open since a fourth wave in June, relying on measures such as vaccinations, booster shots and protective masks. read more

The drill will put civilian and military leaders subject to massive tests, hospitalizations and curfews, Bennett’s office said in a statement. The findings of the exercise are shared with foreign partners.

“Israel is safe and protected. To maintain this and ensure the continuity of normal life, we must continue to monitor the situation closely and prepare for any scenario,” the statement quoted him as saying.

The statement said nothing to indicate that the government believed a deadly new strain of coronavirus was imminent.

It also didn’t mention a possible flare-up in combat with enemies in the scenarios for the exercise.

The bunker was built more than a decade ago due to concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and missile exchanges with Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Writing by Dan Williams, editing by Timothy Heritage

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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