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EU plane brings 800,000 masks

April 18 2020 | Belgrade

EU plane brings 800,000 masks

With the support of the European Union, another plane has landed in Serbia today carrying medical equipment necessary for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic – 800,000 protective medical masks that will be distributed to healthcare institutions across the country.

The European Union has financed both the purchase of the medical equipment and its transport to Serbia.These masks intended for the protection of medical staff in healthcare institutions will be delivered as part of the overall EU assistance to Serbia in the fight against the pandemic.

“I would like to express my utmost gratitude to Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, the EU Delegation to Serbia, the entire EU and our partners from EU member states, which have donated funds not only for this flight but also for a huge portion of medical equipment on this plane. This primarily includes protective medical masks, as well as contactless thermometers. This plane also carries protective suits, medical suits – slightly fewer than 200,000, which we ourselves have bought from the budget of the Republic of Serbia for our healthcare workers and people in gerontology centres. Our partners from the European Union have allocated significant funds and assistance, despite the fact that the members states themselves are also facing great challenges in this fight”, said Ana Brnabić, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia.

“Using the EU funds Ambassador Fabrizi and I have reallocated from IPA funds for Serbia through an agreement signed shortly after the escalation of the epidemic, we have immediately started working with our implementation partner UNOPS on purchasing medical equipment. We have bought ventilators, intensive care monitors, tests, triage containers, masks etc. These are all being successively delivered; we are still waiting to import some. Masks are scarce goods on the European market, which is why we have directed a part of funds to purchasing masks that are particularly important for medical workers, as well people who have to protect themselves from infection at their everyday jobs, from salespersons to utility workers. The EU and we are actively cooperating on effectively controlling the epidemic, just as we will more easily prepare the socio-economic recovery with the support of the EU,” stated Jadranka Joksimović, the Minister of European Integration and National IPA Coordinator.

On 8 April 2020, the European Union announced its global response to the fight against COVID-19 worth EUR 15.6 billion. The initial assistance in the amount of EUR 93 million allocated for Serbia is intended for addressing health, economic and social effects of the coronavirus pandemic

“Barely a day has passed since the beginning of the crisis without the medical equipment transported and bought by the EU, which is intended for healthcare institutions and vulnerable communities in Serbia. I am proud of the assistance we are providing owing to the EU financed EUR 15 million worth package allocated for emergency assistance to Serbia.Today’s plane is particularly important. It is not only the eleventh cargo flight that the EU has financed, but it is also a flight that has delivered 800,000 protective medical face masks and thermometers the EU has bought for Serbia. In the upcoming days, additional medical equipment will arrive, including ventilators, tests and intensive care monitors, along with 100 triage containers to be installed across Serbia. The EU continues to help Serbia in this difficult moment.This weekend, Serbia is celebrating Easter, therefore – particularly in this spirit – I would like to emphasise that solidarity and joint action will get us all through these difficult times,” said Sem Fabrizi, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia.

With the financial support of the EU and in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is carrying out the purchase of protective masks and other medical equipment, while the eleventh flight for emergency transport of medical equipment is organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the European Union has been providing support to Serbia almost on a daily basis, including the purchase of necessary medical equipment worth almost EUR 5 million, which is carried out in cooperation with UNOPS.

Owing to the support provided so far, in addition to 800,000 masks, 300 contactless thermometers and 21 out of 100 planned containers for triage and emergency care of patients already placed in healthcare institutions across Serbia have arrived.

The following medical equipment is expected to arrive in the upcoming period: ventilators, laboratory equipment, tests, intensive care monitors and other equipment that the World Health Organisation and the Serbian Ministry of Health have deemed essential for successful tackling of the coronavirus in Serbia.

Source: Government of the Republic of Serbia

Photo: Tanjug