Published: 2021-01-21 11:29
Last Updated: 2021-03-02 11:36
Thursday, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maris Payne announced the granting of $1 million in medical aid to Palestine through the World Health Organization (WHO) to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.
The medical aid will come in the form of medical equipment and technical assistance. Payne confirmed Australia’s position in support of the needs of the “Palestinian people and the two-state solution.”
Thursday, the Australian Ambassador to Palestine Mark Bailey and the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad Al-Maliki delivered a joint message about Al-Maliki's request for the grant.
In the message, Al-Maliki praised Australia's excellence in facing the pandemic, expressing the Palestinian government's interest in obtaining Australian support due to the high number of infections and deaths in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
He pointed to the deteriorating health conditions in Palestine and the efforts made by Palestinian medical teams, despite the scarcity of medical resources.
The COVID curve in Palestine has been declining for the last month, after seeing record-high cases numbers in December which caused several lockdowns. Lockdowns in Palestine are especially difficult given its tough economic situation, exacerbated by a 30 percent unemployment rate.
The daily positive PCR test rates hover around 19 to 25 percent, however, data on the Palestinian COVID-19 health situation is not always accurate due to limited PCR testing capabilities.
Mass amounts of the COVID-19 vaccine are not expected in Palestine until March.
He also reviewed the latest political developments in the Palestinian arena, stressing the need to preserve the principle of the two-state solution in accordance with agreed international law and standards, in order to establish stability and lasting peace in the Middle East, referring to President Mahmoud Abbas’s decree to hold legislative and presidential elections.