Brunssum, the Netherlands, Wednesday 8 April 2020
NATO is becoming increasingly involved in battling the COVID-19 pandemic with its military resources. Today, a C-17 Globemaster arrived in Romania carrying approximately 100,000 sets of medical protective suits that will be distributed by the Romanian authorities to those fighting COVID-19 on the front line. The flight was arranged by the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) under NATO management in response to an emergency requirement to transport protective medical equipment from Asia. The flight departed from Pápa Air Base in Hungary on 04 April, loading the material in South Korea, and reached Otopeni Military Air Force Base in Bucharest early this morning.
Throughout NATO’s response to the crisis, its Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), has been at the forefront fulfilling its role as the Alliance’s primary civil emergency response mechanism. The EADRCC, together with the Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) initiative and the SAC, have been developed as key capabilities rooted in NATO’s core task of crisis management.
In light of the growing needs for inter-alliance co-operation in fighting the pandemic, NATO has implemented new procedures to speed up its air transports. Allied aircraft on COVID-19 relief flights will use a NATO Call Sign and receive priority handling by Air Traffic Controllers across Europe.
During this crisis, NATO’s forces remain ready and will continue to execute daily operations, with measures implemented to reduce the exposure and possible transmission of the virus. NATO is monitoring its personnel carefully for any signs or symptoms that may pose a threat to personal health and the safety of operations. Should the virus affect a member, immediate action will be taken to prevent further spread of the disease. Strict adherence to established rules of maintaining physical distance and applying hand hygiene is therefore still vital.