Coronavirus: UAE companies to collaborate with Israeli companies on COVID-19

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The United Arab Emirates confirmed on Thursday that two private companies in the country will collaborate with two Israeli companies on a COVID-19 initiative, following an announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Two private companies in the UAE have signed “an agreement with two companies in Israel to develop research and technology to fight COVID-19,” state news agency WAM reported on Thursday night.

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“This scientific and medical agreement forms part of constructive cooperation aimed at addressing the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard the health of the region's peoples,” the statement added.

Hend Al Otaiba, director of strategic communications in the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed the agreement on Twitter.

Last week UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash mentioned the possibility of collaboration between the UAE and Israel on COVID-19, after expressing disapproval for Israel’s plans to annex Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

“I think we can come to a point…[where] we say we disagree with you on this…but at the same time there are areas such as COVID, technology, and other things that we can actually work together on,” said Gargash during an address to the American Jewish Committee (AJC) on June 18.

Netanyahu said earlier Thursday that the United Arab Emirates and Israel would cooperate in the fight against the coronavirus in a public address at an air force base near Tel Aviv.

“This collaboration will be in the fields of research and development, technology, in areas that will improve the confidence in health throughout the region,” Netanyahu said.

The UAE recently sent coronavirus-related medical supplies to the Palestinian people via Israel. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways operated two flights carrying medical aid to the Palestinians on May 19 and June 9.

The UAE and Israel were recently ranked the safest countries in the Middle East during the coronavirus pandemic, in a comprehensive data analysis by Hong Kong-based Deep Knowledge Group.

Both countries were classified within the “Tier 1” category - 20 countries that ranked highest “in terms of regional safety and stability” in the era of COVID-19.

The UAE also ranked third in the world in the analysis' index of monitoring and detecting COVID-19 cases, following Singapore and Israel respectively. It also ranked second in emergency preparedness, following China.

The UAE has conducted over three million coronavirus tests, the highest globally in terms of COVID-19 screening per capita, according to UAE Minister of Health Dr. Abdul Rahman al-Owais.

A total of 46,133 coronavirus cases have been reported in the UAE, with 309 deaths.

Israel has recorded a total of 21,732 coronavirus cases and 308 COVID-19 deaths.

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