With the first case of an Ebola transmission reported in the U.S., it has increasingly become clear that the Ebola threat is here to stay. Having threatened only a few African countries until now, the spread of Ebola to other countries – which were until now deemed safe has been rapid. With no signs of the Ebola epidemic slowing down, even the most bitter of enemies seem to have found a common ground to agree upon and join forces to combat an enemy they both share.
The latest entities to join hands and fight the Ebola menace are – believe it or not! Israel and Palestine. Over the weekend officials from Israel and Palestine met each other and decided to come up with an action plan to prevent the spread of Ebola in the region. According to AFP, representatives from the Israeli Military and the Palestinian medical officials were involved in the talks.
In a statement released after the talks, COGAT, the defense ministry unit responsible for Palestinian civilian coordination, said,
“During the meeting (on Saturday evening), updates were exchanged between the parties, and transfer of information was agreed upon by way of additional meetings to take place in order to further track the issue”.
According to Assad Ramlawi of the Palestinian health ministry;
“There are contacts with the Israeli side regarding this within the context of WHO’s instructions on fighting this virus, which is a global task. There are common crossings and we have contacts on this, nothing more or less,” he told AFP.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s office is also taking serious note of the spread of Ebola. On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met officials from Israel’ health, military, police, border crossings and other relevant officials over the epidemic, and later issued a statement, which read;
“We are taking a certain number of measures to isolate any sick people from countries at risk and to treat them of course. This is a global epidemic and we are cooperating with other states.”
While there have been no reported case of Ebola from either Israel or Palestine, measures to counter the spread of the disease are already being taken, and authorities are closely watching all border crossings. Israel has also taken steps to screen passengers arriving at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. With Israel being a popular tourist destination amongst Christians from Western Africa, authorities are leaving no stone unturned to halt the spread of Ebola in the region.
The Ebola epidemic has, in 2014 alone, claimed the lives of over 4000 people. Most of the victims are from the worst affected West African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
[Image Via JPost]