The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have quarantined some 1,262 soldiers after suspicions emerged that they had contact with people infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus. The latter could have happened while they were on vacation in countries affected by the virus outbreak or at home after being in contact with those who were later confirmed as being infected, the IDF clarified.
At least 189 IDF soldiers have already undergone 14-day self-quarantines after being suspected of possibly contracting the coronavirus and returned to their units. Only one serviceman was confirmed to have been infected.
In order to prevent further potential exposure to the COVID-19, the IDF decided to ban all foreign trips for its forces, as well as all military exercises, including the Juniper Cobra 20 drills with the US European Command.
"The decision is in alignment with recent Israeli Ministry of Health guidelines on COVID-19, and a precautionary measure to ensure the health and safety of all participants", US European Command said in a statement.
At present Israel has only reported 19 cases of the coronavirus infection to the World Health Organisation. The virus outbreak has already resulted in over 100,000 people being infected and 3,483 deaths globally.