The MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, David Simmonds, asked the International Trade Secretary in a parliamentary written question “what steps she is taking to ensure that the UK benefits from Israeli thermal scanning technologies to detect Covid-19”. Temperature screening machines are currently being produced in Israel using thermal imaging, with defence companies repurposing their equipment in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic.
In International Trade Questions this week, Mr Simmonds also praised the work of the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX), which funds cutting-edge research between British and Israeli scientists.
In an additional written question, Conservative MP Greg Smith asked the Secretary of State “what steps she is taking to facilitate exports from Israeli companies that are developing technologies to tackle Covid-19”.
International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena confirmed that “the British Embassy in Tel Aviv is following Israeli research and innovation related to Covid-19 closely, including in the technology sector”. He added: “We have facilitated exchanges between United Kingdom and Israeli public health and scientific experts to discuss testing, epidemic management strategies, treatments and vaccine research, as well as cooperation on medical equipment”.
Christian Wakeford, the Conservative MP for Bury South, asked the Health Secretary what discussions officials in his Department had held “with representatives of Israeli medical technology companies” on the “use and importation of medical technologies developed in that country to tackle the covid-19 outbreak in the UK”.
Scott Benton MP underlined the work of Israel’s national emergency medical service Magen David Adom in a further question to the Health Secretary, asking “what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Israel’s use of plasma samples obtained by Magen David Adom from patients who have recovered from covid-19 on patients with severe symptoms of that disease”.
In response, Health Ministers Jo Churchill and Helen Whately emphasised the UK’s “regular” discussions with Israel and other countries on a “wide range of issues relating to Covid-19” and confirmed that the UK would consider “all international evidence on the use of convalescent plasma in Covid-19 patients”.
The Conservative MP for Ipswich, Tom Hunt, asked the Education Secretary if he had spoken with his Israeli counterpart about Israel’s experience of reopening schools during the pandemic. Education Minister Nick Gibb underlined that “official-level discussions are continuing to take place with counterparts in other countries on all aspects of the education response to the pandemic”.