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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 February 2021

Israel to vaccinate 100,000 Palestinian day labourers after ‘technical co-operation’ talks

Co-ordination to combat the coronavirus was reportedly discussed at a meeting in Ramallah

A Palestinian nurse administers a dose of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine to a fellow health worker in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Bloomberg
A Palestinian nurse administers a dose of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine to a fellow health worker in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Bloomberg

The Palestinian Authority said on Friday that Israel agreed to immunise 100,000 Palestinian labourers in the country against Covid-19.

Both sides also agreed on “technical co-operation” to combat the spread of the virus, the Palestinian health ministry said.

It said the agreement was reached during a meeting to discussed the pandemic.

Israel’s health ministry issued a statement saying a meeting took place in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, where the PA is based, with Palestinian counterparts to discuss the virus.

The meeting came “out of the understanding that Israel and the Palestinians live in one territorial unit”, the Israeli health ministry said.

It said the spread of the virus in the Palestinian Territories could affect Israelis.

Israel’s mass vaccination campaign is regarded as the world’s fastest.

Since December, the country has delivered at least one shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 4.25 million residents, about 47 per cent of its nine million population. Of that group, 2.88 million received the recommended full course of two jabs, health ministry figures show.

The Palestinian Authority is expecting two million doses ordered from various manufacturers, plus vaccines from the UN-backed Covax programme, which was set up to help poor nations procure vaccines.

It began immunising frontline healthcare workers earlier this month with an initial procurement of 10,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and several thousand doses of the Moderna vaccine via Israel.

Israel closed its crossings to Palestinian day labourers at the beginning of the pandemic. The move forced those who wished to continue working in the country, where wages are higher, to stay there.

As its fatality rates slowly fell, Israel was in the process of relaxing its third general lockdown.

Cogat said that as of Sunday, Palestinian day labourers would once again be allowed to enter Israel.

According to military radio, about 87,000 were expected to enter the country to work on Sunday.

Updated: February 20, 2021 09:43 PM

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