Photo Credit: Ariel Hermoni / Defense Ministry Communications Division
Meeting of the defense establishment with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, 21 Sept 2020

Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz has ordered the IDF to prepare to build a field hospital for coronavirus patients, due to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases across the country.

A statement issued by the Defense Ministry said Monday that Gantz instructed the IDF to “immediately prepare to establish a field hospital in accordance with the needs of the healthcare system… [he] ordered staff to begin preparations to build an army field hospital that would contain about 200 beds.”

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The decision came in the wake of a discussion about the role of the military in dealing with the pandemic, held with Defense Ministry director-general Maj.Gen. (ret.) Amir Eshel and top military commanders.

Gantz also instructed the defense establishment to to prepare for further reinforcement of the police forces in the event of a continuation or expansion of the quarantine.

Preparations are expected to take several weeks. At present, there are 52,577 active cases of the coronavirus in Israel.

Earlier in the day, Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod were both forced to stop accepting COVID-19 patients because they had no more room in their dedicated coronavirus wards.

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