14 March 2020, Beijing — The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has donated critical medical supplies to the Chinese government to support its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, two batches of supplies were sent from Beijing and Shanghai to Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak in Hubei Province – on 12 and 13 March.
As of 12 March, in Hubei Province, there were still more than 13,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 patients receiving hospital treatment. The medical supplies, which include non-invasive ventilators, patient monitoring systems and infusion pumps, will be used for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 in Hubei Province.
The FAO China office is in close contact with the relevant Chinese authorities to ensure that supplies can be delivered to the hospitals as soon as possible. The Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), the National Health Commission, and the Hubei Charity Federation are providing coordination and delivery support for the donations.
"In these recent months, we have seen the expression of human values, solidarity, people proactively willing to help each other, and the joining of hands with the Chinese Government to control the spread of this disease. It was a ‘whole-of-society’ effort to overcome the epidemic,” said Vincent Martin, the FAO Representative in China and DPR Korea.
“Although there are still new cases and patients being treated in China, we believe that the epidemic – now a pandemic globally – will soon be fully under control in this country, and we hope that our donation and follow-up work will contribute to the emergency and recovery efforts,” Martin added.
In addition to donating medical supplies, FAO will also conduct surveys and technical consultations with MARA and other relevant national institutions, with a particular focus on reviewing and understanding the emergence of the virus at the animal-human interface and its impact on people’s livelihood. Since the outbreak began, FAO has been actively promoting hygiene practices and epidemic updates on its Website, as well as through social media and other platforms, in order to contribute to the prevention and control of the spread of the coronavirus.
Last month, a letter was sent to China’s President Xi Jinping, written jointly by the heads of the three UN food agencies — FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Gilbert Houngbo and the World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley. It paid tribute to the resilience of the Chinese people and the country’s efforts to deal with the emergency. The joint letter also pledged readiness to provide support to China's efforts to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on the population, particularly in rural areas.