Israel Successfully Completes COVID-19 ‘War Games’

Senior officials participated in what Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called a COVID-19 war exercise on Thursday to gauge the country’s readiness for the next wave of the pandemic.

“We are starting an unprecedented event here,” the prime minister said at the start of the event, “not only on an Israeli scale but on a global scale. We are conducting a war exercise to prepare for a new variant that does not even exist yet. “

“Exercise Omega,” as Bennett called it, was conducted in the format of a “war game,” the Prime Minister’s Office said Wednesday. Bennett has regularly referred to the “Omega strain,” the next variant of COVD-19 that has yet to be discovered.

Bennett said Israel has emerged from the Delta wave without blocking, showing that “with proper management, the pandemic can be defeated.”

Israel averaged several thousand new cases per day just two months ago and now only has around 500 new cases per day. The country carried out a massive booster vaccination campaign, vaccinating more than 4 million Israelis while maintaining open schools and an open economy.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting on the coronavirus, October 3, 2021 (credit: KOBI GIDEON / GPO)

Under the previous administration, Israel blocked three times.

Bennett acknowledged that the pandemic has not yet disappeared, noting how countries like Europe have record daily cases.

“The most threatening thing is not the current situation, but what we still do not know,” he said. “Just when the Delta strain suddenly and violently exploded, other more deadly and more contagious vaccine-resistant variants could arrive.”

He said the exercise was intended to be a proactive attempt to prepare for such a scenario. The event aimed to verify that all ministries are prepared for the next wave, that hospitals could function in extreme circumstances and that the country’s leading scientists are closely following every variant that has emerged in the world, no matter how small. .

The team evaluated the country’s preparedness in the areas of health, legal, economic, internal security, travel and communication, including specific policies on how to handle meetings, quarantine, events, tourism and more.

Representatives of high-level officials and teams from all ministries and sectors participated in the exercise. It was held at the National Management Center in Jerusalem.

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