Scott Morrison, Jacinda Adern and Benjamin Netanyahu in Zoom conference

May 28, 2020 by JNS
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Prime Ministers Australia’s Scott Morrison, New Zealand’s Jacinda Adern and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu have participated in a conference call with several world leaders to discuss ways to resume safe flights between their countries and steps to return to a safe routine in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joins a conference call with other world leaders to discuss international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, May 27, 2020. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

During the conference call, hosted by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the leaders noted from their countries’ experience that opening schools under social-distancing restrictions had not led to a significant renewal of outbreaks, except for localized ones that have been dealt with on an individual basis.

The leaders also discussed readiness for a possible second wave of COVID-19.

They agreed that the most effective way to prevent spread of the virus was to use digital tools and a system that combines receiving test results in less than 24 hours and epidemiological investigations of infected people that are concluded in less than 48 hours, with the assistance of digital tools.

“In Israel, as in all your countries, we have been very successful up to now,” said Netanyahu. “But I always say that we are on the 84th floor on the way down. We may be going down in an elevator, and we may be just dropping very quickly. We don’t know. But it’s been successful up to now. Our economies are being practically opened up completely with the exception of international flights.”

“I think that we’ll inevitably be forced into much more rigorous contact tracing on the one side, and information or disease testing before and after flights that don’t require people to sit in quarantine for 14 days once they get off the plane,” said the Israeli prime minister. “That’s the only way that I think we have a chance on resuming the kind of aviation regime which we had before. That’s about where we are today.”

Scott Morrison attending the conference call

Scott Morrison posted on hos Facebook: “Tonight I had another valuable discussion with leaders from Austria, Israel, Denmark, Greece, Czech Republic, Norway, Costa Rica and New Zealand on our fight against COVID-19. So important to come together to learn lessons and look ahead. Thank you Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for hosting this first movers discussion once again.

We shared experiences on re-opening our schools and economies, cooperating on treatment and a vaccine, and how to develop protocols to re-open our borders safely. And also the importance of maintaining vigilance and rigorous testing and tracing so we can keep saving lives.”

Other leaders at the conference included Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.


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