PH, Israel strengthen pandemic response cooperation


The second batch of health experts from Israel’s Ministry of Health kicked off their weeklong visit here in the Philippines with a meeting on Tuesday with the country’s top COVID-19 task force officials.

The Israeli delegation was invited to look into the national government’s COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts and offer recommendations on how these methods can be further improved to address the challenges of the highly-transmissible coronavirus Delta variant.

The Israeli delegation was led by Dr. Guy Choshen, an infectious diseases and COVID-19 specialist from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

Other members of the delegation included Shira Peleg, head nurse and nursing manager of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center Emergency Department; Eyad Jeries, a trauma coordinator from the Galilee Medical Center; and Chaim Markos Rafalowski, a disaster management coordinator from Magen David Adom.

During the discussions, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Chair and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III thanked the Israel government for the “support” and “wisdom” they continue to provide the Philippines in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the Delta variant, now more than ever, is the time to strengthen our partnerships and open all channels of communications. As members of the global community, we must continue moving as one towards the protection of the entire human race,” Duque said.

Chargé d’Affaires Nir Balzam of the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines likewise expressed Israel’s commitment to promote a more mutually-beneficial relationship between the two nations, wherein both countries can learn from each other’s experiences and strategies in managing the impact of COVID-19.

“We will do whatever we can in order to assist and to share our knowledge and of course, we are also expecting to learn and enhance our knowledge in the different challenges here in the Philippines,” said Balzam.

Last month, Israel sent a team of medical and logistics experts to assess and help enhance the Philippines’ vaccine operations and deployment strategies. (National Task Force against COVID 19 )