Saturday, 6 Jun 2020 - 14 of Sivan, 5780

Coronavirus: Israel’s PM Netanyahu holds conf call with European leaders, calls for global effort

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Netanyahu: ‘’We are pooling our research people with their research people. I suggest that if you think you have scientific and technological contributions to this that we talk to each other and we of course make sure the Americans understand this because I think this has to be a worldwide effort. It’s not about who gets there first, but about how we all get there first. This is the first point. Improving testing is absolutely critical, of course looking for a vaccine as well. I include that in the improvement of the scientific and technological means to fight the disease.’’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held on Monday held a video conference with European leaders during which he discussed with them the challenges and cooperation between countries, in dealing with the coronavirus.

The video conference took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, and Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban participated.

Netanyahu declared at the start of the conference call: ‘’I have welcomed this opportunity to have this video conference because I think that we can help our countries and help each other by sharing information and coordinating certain activities. Because I know that time is of the essence, both your time and our countries’ time, I want to suggest that we first form this forum that will continue with points of contact from each of our countries in order to be able to continue with some of things that will arise in this conversation.’’

The Israeli premier made three suggestions for cooperation : the first in the area of widespread testing, changing completely the rate of testing, the span of the testing of our people and the speed of the test.

‘’I spoke about this on Sunday with Vice President Pence of the United States and with his expert, Birx, a very impressive woman, who is now in charge of all the activities that they do opposite the coronavirus,’’ he said.

He added that in Israel the ultimate goal is to have home tests. ‘’Just like you do for pregnancy or HIV. That people can test themselves,’’ he explained. ‘’When that happens we can narrow down considerably, we can separate more effectively and more efficiently, healthy people from sick people,’’ Netanyahu said.

‘’This is good for health and it’s very good for our economy because we are going to run into serious problems of mass quarantines and you can’t run economies that way,’’ he stressed.

‘’We are pooling our research people with their research people. I suggest that if you think you have scientific and technological contributions to this that we talk to each other and we of course make sure the Americans understand this because I think this has to be a worldwide effort. It’s not about who gets there first, but about how we all get there first. This is the first point. Improving testing is absolutely critical, of course looking for a vaccine as well. I include that in the improvement of the scientific and technological means to fight the disease.’’

The next step in “improving the scientific and technological means to fight the disease” is to find a vaccine, he added.

Netanyahu also called for stopping or limiting passenger flights, as Israel and other countries have done, but continue supply lines between countries.

“I recommend that you have safe centers and safe airplanes,” he added. “In other words, you can designate airports for us, for all of us in Europe, and we will declare a clean airport. We will put consistent effort into keeping it clean. We will wash and sterilize it all the time, around the clock, and check the people who work there all the time.”

Netanyahu said China has taken similar steps to maintain its exports and industry and constantly tests its essential workers.

The clean airports will save countries the effort of having to constantly check and clean individual planes, and can also be a place for leaders and researchers to meet so that they don’t have to fully rely on the Internet, he explained.

Countries should share with each other news of what efforts have been effective or not, Netanyahu said, and he asked the leaders to designate a person for Israel and others to contact on matters related to the novel coronavirus.

The video conference came as Israel has had over 25,500 people in quarantine and 39 cases of COVID-19, four of whom have completely recovered.

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