Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove arrived in Israel on Monday on an unannounced visit, reportedly to discuss a vaccine passport arrangement.
Gove, who is one of the most senior ministers in Boris Johnson’s government, is said to have been accompanied on the small BAe HS146 aircraft by Jonathan Van-Tam, one of England’s deputy Chief Medical Officers.
The plane was photographed approaching for a landing at Ben Gurion Airport by Haaretz English editor Avi Scharf, who is also a keen observer of flight traffic in the region.
Several UK media outlets had speculated Gove would visit Israel this week to examine Israel’s vaccination programme in person.
The country’s vaccine rollout is one of the most successful in the world, with nearly five million people — or 53.5% of the population — now fully vaccinated.
— avi scharf (@avischarf) April 19, 2021
On Sunday Israeli authorities lifted a rule requiring people to wear masks outdoors in public.
Haaretz journalist Anshel Pfeffer said Gove’s visit would likely involve meetings with Israel’s health and foreign minister, and possibly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu too.
He will also be given a tour of testing facilities at Ben Gurion Airport “with a view to creating [a] flight corridor between Israel and the UK”, Pfeffer said on Twitter.
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
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