Germany wants to intensify cooperation with Israel in the further fight against Corona and in the digitization of the health system. "That's a lot that you can take away from here," said Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on Sunday after meeting his Israeli counterpart Nitzan Horowitz in Jerusalem. As an example, he cited Israel's "important research" on corona drugs and Long Covid, i.e. longer-lasting symptoms after infections. According to the Israeli model, Lauterbach also wants to advance the use of digital health data for new medical findings.
The Corona crisis also accompanied the minister during his visit. "The pandemic is not over yet," said Lauterbach. Israel has always led the way, for example when it comes to vaccination. "It is better to vaccinate a large number of people, especially older people, early on - than almost everyone, but much later. Time beats completeness, Israel has shown that again and again." In Germany, after vaccinations have been sluggish for a long time, the next major campaign is to be launched with new vaccines that are adapted to current omicron virus variants.
Closer exchange agreed
The two ministers also agreed on a closer German-Israeli exchange - also between experts and not only on Corona. "It's impressive how quickly we succeed in turning new ideas into products," said Lauterbach. Israel should be a role model, especially when it comes to using digital treatment data for accelerated research findings and better care. "Here, all of a patient's clinics and practices use the same data," said Lauterbach. You could exchange ideas about treatments.
While Germany is preparing for another Corona autumn with restrictions, the virus only plays a subordinate role in everyday life in Israel. The mask requirement - also on buses and trains - was abolished at the end of April and not reintroduced in the most recent corona wave in June. Masks have not been required on airplanes since May. There are only exceptions in retirement homes and hospitals, but wearing simple surgical masks is sufficient.
Israel long Corona model students
Not least because of the efficient vaccination campaign, Israel has long been considered a corona model student. Thanks to the rapid procurement of vaccines and its digitized healthcare system, the country of 9.4 million inhabitants managed to vaccinate a large part of the population in a very short time. In the meantime, however, according to the Ministry of Health, only just under two percent have valid vaccination protection. In 68 percent it has expired, the rest could not be vaccinated. A fourth vaccination is recommended for everyone over the age of 60, but a further vaccination campaign has not yet been announced.
Lauterbach also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. "The greatest crime of humanity," said the SPD politician as he stood in the "Hall of Names." In the end, he wrote in the guest book, among other things: "No crisis, neither pandemic nor war, may be misused for new anti-Semitism and old resentments."