“What we have done since we joined the IDF is prepare for any emergency. The emergency that is always talked about is war, but we understand that when you prepare for a war, you prepare for different scenarios: from the lack of electricity in a city to an earthquake or the coronavirus itself. ”
Ariel Blitz He is Commander of the Internal Front of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the Dan region, located in the center of the country. From the day the first case of coronavirus was registered in the country, he joined a mission that extends through various Army bodies, and has the same objective: "Save lifes".
In dialogue with Infobae, highlighted the commitment of Israeli soldiers to provide support to the population during the pandemic: "More than a thousand soldiers left everything behind from one day to the next, and came to support hospitals in the area, to collaborate with the people ( ...) No soldier I called to join the mission refused to come, they all joined and remain at the forefront of this combat. ” He also acknowledged that many uniformed officers joined "without being called."
Throughout the country the Army deployed some 18,000 officers and soldiers to that mission.
"We want the doctor to see patients, and not worry about anything else. So we help in the hospital, we transfer sick people, we disinfect places… ”, he detailed.
Although the authorities must work without a vaccine or treatment for the coronavirus -as is the case worldwide-, Blitz assured that IDF has "everything to fight" against the pandemic. Along these lines, he commented that from the first day they provide support "to local government units, the police, the national ambulance organization, and the people." "Especially to the elderly; for example, providing food or medicine. "
The commander also pointed out that, together with the municipal and local authorities, they are making a "very big" effort to explain to the population "what to do and how" in these times of so much "anguish and confusion". In this regard, he stressed the importance of the message on social networks and on television.
"Israel has the best technology in the world to alert when an enemy fires a rocket into the country. We have alarm systems and shelters throughout the country. Besides having the resources, people already know how to act in those cases. But with the coronavirus it is different, from one day to the next the situation can be very different, ”said Bliz.
Despite the state of fear that reigned for weeks, he also highlighted the "union" and "commitment" he saw on the part of the entire population, regardless of religion or ideology: "I am in charge of places that are Arab. We are soldiers in uniforms, and we had no problem working with the local chiefs, with the Muslim religious chiefs. The same with the largest city in my region, more than 200,000 people living there. It is the largest city in Israel with Orthodox Jews. They don't go to the Army at 18 years like we do. And we didn't have any problems with them either. ”
“We are a very small country, where in times of emergency everyone works together. There are many struggles here, religious, political, but when there is an emergency we are united. The coronavirus is an enemy that must be fought "he stressed.
Moved, he said that many people came "to help and collaborate", despite the risk of being so exposed. Due to this high exposure of the soldiers who work every day in the fight against the coronavirus, the Army reconverted in a few days a sophisticated laboratory that regularly dedicates itself to identifying soldiers killed in combat through their DNA. There, hundreds of COVID-19 tests are carried out among Israeli soldiers.
The laboratory, located in the center of the country, was reconditioned in just four days. Right now, about 60 professionals work shifts 24 hours a day every day, under the command of Lt. Col. Noam Protter, head of the IDF Medical Forensic Unit. "We work together to obtain samples from our soldiers and produce the results of coronavirus tests," said Dr. Protter, who indicated that the process lasts approximately six hours.
With more than 16,000 cases of contagion and just over 200 deaths, Israel has been in the midst of a decontamination process for two weeks after weeks of strict containment measures.
"The situation is more relaxed. Many people returned to work, but there are places that are still closed, such as cinemas and theaters. Things are returning, but to a different normality, "said Blitz.
Last weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that containment measures would be reinstated if the number of cases of coronavirus increases again: "If in a couple of weeks we see continuous improvement, we will make it even more flexible, but if there is a new maximum of cases, we will be forced to give up reducing these measures. "
Before Sunday May 17, it was forbidden to travel more than 100 meters from home, except to work if necessary, go to the supermarket, hospital or pharmacy.
For his part, The use of masks continues to be compulsory, schools and universities remain closed and public transport has only partially resumed its activity.
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