Israel is joining an initiative suggested by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for countries who have been relatively successful in battling the coronavirus pandemic, with the aim of participating countries opening their borders to one another to salvage their tourism industries, a Wall Street Journal report said.
The first videoconference meeting of the alliance was held last week with the participation of Israel, Austria, Denmark, Greece, the Czech Republic, Australia and New Zealand. The seven countries, some of which are heavily dependent on tourism, hope to cooperate with each other in a mutual effort to revive their faltering economies by promoting tourism and trade between them.
The report added that the countries would set common protocols before opening their borders such as the wearing of face masks, social distancing and coronavirus testing at airports.
The alliance is based on a suggestion made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last month during a videoconference with the seven world leaders.
השתתפתי היום בוועידת מנהיגים שכינס קאנצלר אוסטריה סבסטיאן קורץ כדי לדון בשיתופי פעולה בינלאומיים בהתמודדות מול מגיפת הקורונה. מנהיגי העולם ביקשו ללמוד מישראל על הדרך המוצלחת שבה התמודדנו עם הקורונה. pic.twitter.com/pyFOL2dKrp
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) April 24, 2020
“We can designate airports for us, for all of us,” Netanyahu said. “And we say, this is a clean airport. We apply consistent efforts to keep it clean. We scrub it, we disinfect it, all the time — around the clock. And we also test the people who work there all the time.”
Following the meeting last week, a statement was released: “The world leaders discussed ways to advance international cooperation in the struggle against the coronavirus, exchanged ideas and ways in which their countries are dealing with the spread of the virus, raised common dilemmas in reopening the economy and policy regarding the reopening of educational institutions, and discussed ways of protecting at-risk populations in the shadow of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Austria announced on Sunday that it would offer coronavirus testing at its Vienna airport, enabling passengers to receive results within three hours and avoid a two-week quarantine upon entering the country. The tests will cost 190 euros ($209).
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)