Medical supplies for the coronavirus-affected people in Iran pictured at the WHO Emergency hub in Al Maktum International Airport on Monday. AFP
The United Arab Emirates has facilitated a mission by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to deliver medical supplies and equipment to Iran in a bid to help contain the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in the neighbouring country.
The UAE Air Force deployed an aircraft that carried 7.5 tonnes of cargo from Dubai to Iran on Monday afternoon.
Dubai's International Humanitarian City facilitated the packing and loading of the shipment containing hundreds of thousands of gloves, surgical masks, and other basic medical supplies, that could assist some 15,000 healthcare workers taking care of coronavirus patients in Iran.
The laboratory diagnostic kits in the cargo will help screen thousands of people, further supporting the efforts to control the pandemic.
The UAE is carrying out this important mission in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, WHO, and the International Humanitarian City, IHC, one of the biggest humanitarian hubs in the world, a senior official told Emirates News Agency, WAM.
"The UAE’s geographical location gives us easy access to more than 100 countries that cover two thirds of the global population. We use this privilege to support people who are affected by any crises. This mission is part of our efforts to support coronavirus patients," said Sultan Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister for International Development Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MOFAIC.
The medical aid from the UAE will help Iran contain the virus, according to an official. AFP
"We will continue to extend our support to the people in distress in collaboration with the international community," he said while overseeing the loading of cargo on to the aircraft at Al Maktoum International Airport.
A senior WHO official said it would not have been possible for the UN health agency to carry out the mission without the support of the UAE Government.
"Iran has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the Middle East. The medical supplies will help equip Iran to contain the virus," said Dr. Richard Brennan, Acting Regional Emergency Director at the WHO’s regional office in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"The partnership is very important to deal with this situation. We appreciate the UAE’s support for this mission," he added.
"We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Wednesday.
The National Rehabilitation Centre, the UAE’s leading rehabilitation body, will open the outpatient clinic at its premises in Abu Dhabi to serve both Emiratis and expatriates in the country.
This step is part of the country's efforts to counter the spread of the COVID19 in a number of countries. All quarantine procedures were applied to those repatriated and continuous checks are conducted for their health and safety.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Thursday that several countries were not showing "the level of political commitment" needed to "match the level of the threat we all face." "This is not a drill," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters. "This epidemic is a threat for every country, rich and poor."
He had been scheduled to re-emerge on Friday after a week of recovery and working remotely, but said he would remain at home because he still had a high temperature — one of the symptoms.
The Department of Dhafra Hospitals affiliated to the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company “Seha” opens today “Monday” the screening centre for covid-19 in Madinat Zayed, next to Madinat Zayed Council in Al Dhafra Region. The centre’s daily capacity reaches up to 300 people.
The ministry also announced that 19 cases fully recovered from the coronavirus, after receiving treatment.