In the middle of the world’s war against coronavirus, a disturbing trend is emerging as nations scramble to arrange medical supplies.
Powerful rich nations are cornering a big chunk of COVID-19 testing kits, surgical masks, gloves, ventilators, leaving poor countries with little battle gear to fight this war.
Our battle against COVID-19 is going to be a long drawn affair and this disease is going to cripple economies, disrupt financial systems and may leave a lasting impact on the world
Media is reporting of crates of masks being snatched from cargo planes and influential countries outbidding poor nations by tripling market price of medical supplies, a trend if it continues unchecked can potentially have disastrous consequences for poor countries with inadequate health care infrastructure.
Not all countries, however, are indulging in this unethical behaviour. From the beginning of February, many nations have reached out to institutions and populations beyond their own territories, helping them with precious medical aid.
The UAE’s track record in reaching out to other countries in the region and beyond since the virus outbreak has been exceptional. The UAE dispatched several cargo planes carrying tonnes of medical supplies and relief material to those in need.
It sent supplies to Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak in China and airlifted 215 Arabs who were stranded there.
In London, the UAE helped in setting up a 4,000-bed field hospital NHS Nightingale and on April 5 two planes carrying medical supplies were sent to Pakistan. By placing human solidarity over political issues, the UAE also offered help to Syria.
Last week, 13 tonnes of medical supplies meant for 10,000 health care workers were dispatched to Kazakhstan and ten tonnes to Italy. The list of nations receiving UAE aid during the outbreak is long and growing.
Even before this outbreak started early this year, the UAE has been helping countries in the region and around the world. The country’s leadership has always given priority to humanitarian missions in conflict zones in Middle East and beyond.
In 2018, the UAE’s foreign aid contributions to 42 countries exceeded $7.79 billion. The same year, humanitarian assistance in several countries, including 14 least developed countries reached $2.81 billion.
Our battle against COVID-19 is going to be a long drawn affair and this disease is going to cripple economies, disrupt financial systems and may leave a lasting impact on the world. To win this war, rich countries and blocs need to follow the UAE’s example.
They must understand that this crisis cannot be overcome by simply shutting down borders or by cornering precious medical supplies. We must all come together to survive this pandemic.