The office of the Israeli prime minister announced today that Israel and Russia have agreed to conduct a number of flights between Israel and Russia, to enable Israeli and Russian nationals to return home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agreement was reached during the telephone conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” it said. “The leaders discussed cooperation in the procurement of medical equipment and supplies. They also agreed to enable movement between Russia and Israel so that citizens of the two countries will be able to return home.”
According to the prime minister’s office, it was “a warm conversation” and Putin wished the Israeli prime minister and the Israeli people “a happy Passover and success in the struggle against the coronavirus.” According to the Kremlin press-service, the conversation was initiated by the Israeli side.
Passover, or Pesach, is a major Jewish holiday and one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays. It is celebrated from April 8 to April 16, 2020 and commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.
As of April 6, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel reached 8,611, with 51 fatalities. According to Israel’s health ministry, as many as 141 patients are in critical condition, with 107 of them being connected to artificial lung ventilation. At least 546 patients have recovered.
The first coronavirus case in Israel was confirmed on February 27. It was a patient who had returned from Italy. The first coronavirus-associated death was reported on March 20.