Yesterday evening, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced in a virtual press conference that NATO Foreign Ministers had directed the SACEUR, General Wolters, to coordinate the necessary military support to combat the coronavirus crisis and to start using fast-track paths through Europe’s airspace for military flights carrying essential medical supplies.
Meanwhile, support amongst the Alliance’s member states is growing strong.
In Italy, a team of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) located in Taranto has established a cooperation with an Italian start-up called ISINNOVA that will result in the production of 25 3D-printed connectors – on a weekly basis – converting snorkeling masks into emergency ventilator masks. These will be donated to the Italian Civil Protection Department for further distribution in the most needed hospitals.
The Czech Republic has also distributed samples of newly developed hi-tech respirators printable on 3D printers to Italy, together with 10,000 pieces of protective suits. This has been made possible by the cooperation amongst different entities, including the Polytechnic Institutes of Milan and Prague.
NATO has implemented robust measures to limit the virus’ spread and minimise risks to its military personnel and civilians, and the communities in which they serve. Nevertheless, physical distancing and hand hygiene remain most effective measures to slow down the spread over the upcoming weeks.