Brunssum, the Netherlands, Tuesday 7 April 2020
Amidst recent considerations in the German political arena to tighten controls at the remaining borders with Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium and The Netherlands, on Monday the Prime Minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia stated that there will be no border controls between his state and the bordering countries of Belgium and The Netherlands. That said, essential and professional traffic such as commuting between work places and residencies across the mentioned borders would not have been affected.
NATO solidarity in the COVID crisis also applies for the youngest member of the Alliance. Hungary, The Netherlands and Turkey have pledged to help North Macedonia in the fight against the pandemic. Hungary provided 100,000 masks and 5,000 protective garments, The Netherlands will send test kits and Turkey will supply health care equipment to support the health care system of the country. In addition, Norway also declared they will provide support to their new ally.
Already last week, a A-400M cargo plane of the Turkish Air Force carrying medical supplies donated by Turkey to Spain and Italy, answered a request for assistance via NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC). The medical supplies consisted of disinfectants and personal protection equipment, including 450,000 masks.
As in the rest of the society, some of our military and civilian staff are affected by the pandemic. For precautionary measures, a lot of activities have therefore been downscaled, and an increasing number of our personnel are working from home. A number of exercises have been modified or cancelled all together. But NATO's ability to conduct operations has been maintained and our forces remain ready. Our crucial work carries on.
Everybody is reminded to strictly adhere to the established rules of keeping physical distancing to one another and applying hand hygiene best practice as often as possible.