Portugal's president on Monday spoke on the phone with his counterpart in Israel, Reuven Rivlin, on the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, on Monday spoke on the phone with his counterpart in Israel on the Covid-19 pandemic, the vaccination process, bilateral relations and the global geopolitical situation, his office said.
A note published on the website of the Presidency of the Republic states that de Sousa and Reuven Rivlin had “a telephone conversation this morning” in which they “discussed the pandemic situation and its economic and social effects, the vaccination process, bilateral relations and the global geopolitical situation, as well as the situation in the Near and Middle East.”
At the end of January 2020, de Sousa took part in the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, in Jerusalem, at the invitation of Rivlin, who received him at his official residence.
According to the note released today by de Sousa’s office, Monday’s conversation was in the wake of that trip to Jerusalem and a “recent exchange of messages.”
On Friday, Israel’s Ministry of Health announced that more than half of that country’s population – 4.65 million of its 9.29 million inhabitants – had already received at least one dose of vaccine against Covid-19.
Last January, after participating in the Holocaust forum, de Sousa said that his trip had opened up “a path” to a “rediscovery of the political relationship at the highest level” between the two countries, 25 years after the last visit to Israel by a president of Portugal.
He said at that time that he had invited Israel’s president “to visit Portugal, if possible by the end of the year,” adding that if this visit – which would depend on Rivlin’s “tight schedule” – did take place, it was agreed that he would then pay a reciprocal visit to Israel.
Subsequently, March 2020, the first cases of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 were confirmed in Portugal, prompting de Sousa to cancel his trips abroad.
Since then, there have been more than 16,000 deaths associated with Covid-19 in Portugal and more than 804,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the latest bulletin from the Directorate General of Health (DGS).