UN migration agency sends medical supplies to China to aid coronavirus response


To protect frontline health personnel working tirelessly on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) response in China, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is donating 40,000 surgical gloves, 4,800 high quality surgical masks and 2,375 isolation suits.

“This donation is a small but meaningful contribution as it shows IOM’s appreciation for, solidarity with and confidence in the capable steps China continues to take to protect and support citizens, both nationals and foreign, within and beyond its borders,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.

The first batch of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) is due to land in Shanghai, China, on Sunday. A second batch of PPE will follow on the next available flights.

The supplies will be directly donated to the Chinese government and then transported to health facilities in Wuhan and other locations which are currently experiencing PPE shortages due to unprecedented demand.

PPE ensures that those on the frontline have the tools they need to treat those affected and mitigate the further spread of the virus.

Organizations including IOM have faced procurement challenges in part due to the problems freight forwarders face in prioritizing the shipment of emergency relief supplies amidst travel restrictions introduced by several countries.

At the global level, IOM is discussing with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN agencies ways and means to address risks of potential market disruption and price inflation in the manufacturing and distribution of PPEs.

At the country level, to ensure that IOM’s efforts support China’s national priorities and response strategies, IOM is liaising closely with the Chinese government, including the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce, and the United Nations System, on this task.

Last week, IOM called on all parties to work together to prevent the undue stigmatization of international travelers, in line with international health principles, and in support of the WHO’s Emergency Committee cautioning against actions that promote stigma or discrimination

“A responsible global approach to the battle to contain this novel coronavirus, one that is grounded in solidarity, humanitarian values, and knowledge rather than fear, is not one that is discriminatory, but one that unites nations and people to fight together to control this epidemic,” said IOM DG Vitorino. (Source: IOM)