Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney and Junior Minister in the Executive Office today spoke with the Palestinian and Cuban Ambassadors in Ireland to discuss the Covid19 global emergency.
The Sinn Féin National Chairperson said it was an international scandal that the Palestinian people continue to endure the Israeli blockade of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank while having to fight the battle against Covid19.
After speaking with Ambassador Jilan Wahba, Declan Kearney said:
“The Ambassador briefed me that to date there have been 134 confirmed cases of Covid19 and one death in Palestine. Twelve of these cases are in Gaza.
“It is an international scandal that the Palestinian people must simultaneously struggle against the unjust Israeli blockade of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank while also battling against the spread of Covid19.
“Overall 7,553 community tests have been carried out to date in Palestine. The Palestinian Ministry of Health is grateful for the support of the World Health Organisation in particular, for the supplies of testing kits provided to date.
“Efforts are currently ongoing to increase intensive care capacity through access to additional ventilators, oxygen and other essential medical equipment.
“However, the Palestinian Authority is very concerned for the health and wellbeing of over 5,000 political prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, due to an outbreak of Covid19 among prison staff and the removal of cleaning products from prison canteens.
“The Ambassador asked for the international community to intensify pressure upon the Israeli government to meet its international obligations and protect the health of the prisoners which it detains. I am now calling on the Irish government to use its influence to address this humanitarian priority.”
Shortly afterwards Declan Kearney spoke with Cuban Ambassador Hugo Ramos and discussed the measures being taken against Covid19 in Cuba and Ireland, he added:
“The Ambassador reported on the blanket community testing being used in Cuba and the comprehensive isolation measures in place where required. I briefed him on the challenges we face in Ireland, particularly in the north.
“I thanked the Ambassador for the inspirational international solidarity being demonstrated by the Cuban government at this time.
“There are currently 14 Cuban medical brigades deployed across the globe, comprising 593 professionals with specialist experience in international disaster situations and health epidemics.
“It is a travesty that while Cuba provides such unconditional international support to countries struggling with the effects of Covid19, including in Italy, that this US administration persists with its economic blockade and financial sanctions against the Cuban economy and its people.
“The Ambassador and I will remain in regular contact about our efforts in Ireland and Cuba to combat the spread of Covid19 during the immediate future.”