| Israeli Ambassador to Vietnam Nadav Eshcar (Source: VNA)
The following is the full text of the interview:
Question: Could you share with us the measures that Israel has been implementing to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic? Vietnam has recorded no new COVID-19 cases since April 17, with no deaths and three quarters of COVID-19 patients nationwide have recovered. What do you think about Vietnam’s measures in this field?
First allow me to show my appreciation to the role of the Vietnamese government and people performing in the combat (against) COVID-19. Actually I am very much impressed by achievements so far done by the government and by the country. And we can see that the results are speaking for themselves. The disease is blocked from entering significantly into Vietnam and therefore we, my family and staff at Israeli Embassy feel very comfortable here in Vietnam. This is actually one of the spots in the world which are among the safest. I wish that the Vietnamese government and Vietnamese people that this situation we will keep being the same in the near and future and later on.
In Israel we're not as lucky as Vietnam I would say and we have a bigger problem. We have approximately almost 14,000 cases of people who got infected and we have the mortality of about 184 to this morning. By percent it’s not as difficult as other places in the world, however of course every case. The Israeli government is like the Vietnamese government, we acted very fast. We locked our gate, we stopped the international flights relatively early and we are performing all kind of measures like social distancing, closing necessary businesses. It is working to some extent because so far we still have the phenomena of the numbers of still growing. I hope that this tendency will be reversed soon and we'll see less and less cases and more and more cases of people who actually recover.
We’re also working very hard. Our scientific sectors are trying to get Medical Solutions, vaccinations as well as medicines to the disease. So far not yet with much success but I think that like other countries, with partnership with other strong scientific sectors in other countries, I'm optimistic that we will prevail and we will find the solution to this disease.
Question: What is your assessment about the provision of information on the pandemic by the Vietnamese government and health ministry for foreign representative offices in Vietnam?
: We feel very much informed. We get access to the information like the rest of the Vietnamese people and we follow closely the news. We got information sometimes to our houses by the changes of policies. We are guest here in this country, respect policies implemented by the government and we follow carefully the regulations and the requirements by the government.
I think that the Vietnamese government is fast to react to developing situations around the country and I think it is dependent not only on the government but also the cooperation by the citizens. I think citizens in this kind of time of hardship are united and they understand the need to follow the instructions by the government, the order to prevent escalation of the situation.
We Israelis live here in Vietnam, we follow, we comply with regulations and we behave accordingly. And therefore I think the situation is clear to us as we follow closely we report back home because Israel follows closely the situation around the world and they see the situation in Vietnam as an example of how to deal with the disease.
Question: Could you speak about the cooperation between Vietnam and Israel in the process of treating, quarantining suspected and infection cases, and bringing Israeli citizens home?
I think that not only Vietnam and not only Israeli, the whole world are practically busy with trying to avoid, to prevent the disease from spreading further. And the whole world are working together to find a solution. Israel and Vietnam are very friendly countries, we are in touch with each other.
I think there are several points that Israelis and Vietnamese are in touching base together on this issue. For example of dealing with the citizens of each other. So Israeli citizens here as you asked were successfully expatriated home. All the travelers here in the beautiful Vietnam. And we managed with the help of the Vietnamese government, Vietnam Airlines and others to send them all back home to their families. And currently we don't have anyone in Vietnam who is not willing to be here. Some travellers just stay here because they feel it is safer. We enjoy the cooperation of the government for providing for them extension of Visa and other measures that will help them to feel comfortable here in the country.
Another aspect we are trying to conduct with the Vietnam is the procurement of equipment. We try to bring Vietnam’s products that are relevant to the coronavirus combat. We would purchase them, including masks and equipment that can be very relevant. It is very much in need in Israel and I hope that we can bring a large significant batch very soon.
And another thing that we are going to conduct this week, actually we're going to hand out a donation of rice, with one tonne of rice to people who are in need, to people who suffered here from losing their providing of jobs. And this is something small that we can help both by feeling we should do something for this community and also representing Israel Spirit which is the spirit of sharing the burden, of giving. I hope and I hope that we can help even a little bit.
Question: As ASEAN Chair in 2020, Vietnam has coordinated with countries to issue a statement on ASEAN’s response to the COVID-19. What do you think about the role of Vietnam in regional and international cooperation in the COVID-19 fight?
This kind of combat is very clear that one country cannot prevail. It requires maximum international corporation, maximum regional cooperation. I think ASEAN is an important player in this region. 10 countries are cooperating with other countries to deal with the disease. And I think Vietnam is a responsible player, doing its utmost to contribute to the general, to the international effort both regionally and internationally. We are following the behavior for Vietnam also on the international arena in this regard. We Israel try also to share our experience, knowledge and I think that this crisis is one of the examples that there is only a good result when everybody together joins forces.
Maybe never before we saw such an in a crisis but I think 100% of countries are absolutely committed to fighting together. So this is maybe one of the positive points in this situation. And I hope that with the contribution of Vietnam, with the contribution of the state of Israel and other members of International Community we will prevail coronavirus as soon as possible.