President Rivlin discusses Coronavirus crisis with PA head Abbas

March 19, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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President Reuven Rivlin spoke on Wednesday with Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the Coronavirus crisis.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on Jan. 6, 2020. Photo by Flash90.

Rivlin told Abbas that “the world is dealing with a crisis that does not distinguish between people or where they live,” adding that “the cooperation between us is vital to ensure the health of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

“Our ability to work together in times of crisis is also a testament to our ability to work together in the future for the good of us all,” he asserted.

Rivlin stressed in his call with Abbas that he is constantly updated on the Coronavirus issue and “is ready to help with any coordination required,” his office stated.

Abbas “welcomed this Israeli initiative calling for coordination of efforts to confront the spread of this dangerous pandemic in the region and the world,” his office stated.

Israel has shut down its crossings into Gaza and the PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria to stem the spread of the virus. The PA has recorded 44 cases of Coronavirus, 40 of them in Bethlehem.

PA government spokesman Ibrahim Malham said on Monday night that the PA and Israel have established a joint situation room to address the Corona epidemic.

“Our level of involvement and the ties between us and the Israelis do not allow us to hesitate about the highest level of coordination, in order to prevent the continuing epidemic,” he stated.

The IDF’s Unit for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has been assisting the PA’s health ​care system in the effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Judea and Samaria and in the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of ​ Coronavirus test kits have been transferred from Israel to the PA, and joint training sessions for Israeli and PA medical personnel were organized for the professional study of the virus, the protection of medical personnel, and the testing of patients suspected of being virus carriers.

COGAT has published the Israeli health ministry guidelines on prevention and protection from the virus spread and ways to deal with contagion and outbreak in Arabic.

Civil Administration Health Coordinator Dalia Basa said earlier this month that “bacteria and viruses do not stop at the border, and the spread of the dangerous virus in Judea and Samaria can also jeopardize the health of the residents of Israel.”

Israel will continue to assist the PA “both as an Israeli interest and for humanitarian reasons,” she added.

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