- Tourism-dependent islands badly impacted by more than 90% decline inpassenger flights
- Supplementary COVID-19 supplies moved through Singapore and Fiji to reachthe Pacific islands
SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 26 November 2020 - The farflung islands in the Pacific have not been spared the brunt of COVID-19. TheWorld Health Organization has been working tirelessly to ensure much-neededsupplies and healthcare equipment reach the shores of these islands. While thenumber of cases has been relatively small,many of these countries, which are heavily dependent on tourism, have beenimpacted by the dramatic cuts in passenger flights, resulting in a logisticalchallenge to send in basic supplies on a regular basis.
Image taken prior to Covid-19
This week, the World Health Organization coordinated itslatest cargo donation through DHL Global Forwarding ("DHL"), the freightspecialist of Deutsche Post DHL Group, to support the islands' fight againstCOVID-19. The shipments, worth over EUR 650,000 contained medical devices suchas oxygen concentrator sets, patient monitors and pulse oximeters, wereairfreighted from Singapore to Fiji, where they will be dispatched to eightislands in the Pacific. The Pacific Islands, which had previously managed toavoid large outbreaks, experienced a recentspike in COVID-19 infections that doubled its total number of cases.
Due to the shortage of air capacity with passenger flightsreduced by more than 90%, the freight had to be broken down into three tranches,sent some two weeks apart. DHL Global Forwarding organized the first shipmentfrom Singapore to Fiji on 22 October, and will be stored till the last shipmentarrives on 19 November. From Fiji, special flights or shipping lines were thenorganized into eight markets, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, SolomonIslands, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Tonga, to ensure they reached their destination.
"Ensuring that the Pacific Island countries have access tothe necessary medical equipment and supplies to prepare for and respond toCOVID-19 is a priority for the World Health Organization. But reaching suchremote places, especially when so many airports are closed, is a hugelogistical challenge. WHO is happy to be working with our partners like DHL tobe able to make this happen." said Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director forthe Western Pacific.
The medical devices, which will be sent to hospitals andother healthcare institutions, will aid local medical professionals in treatingCOVID-19 patients.
"Whilst the Pacific Islands' geographic distance fromdensely populated countries had helped them avert major outbreaks during thepandemic, it has equally worked against them in acquiring much-needed supplies dueto the scarcity of air freight capacity. As one of the few global logisticsplayers in the Islands and one with a geographic footprint as wide as ours, weare glad to be able to play a part in delivering the medical equipment andliving up to our purpose of 'Connecting People, Improving Lives," said KelvinLeung, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific.
More than ever before, thecriticality of logistics networks have been demonstrated in the battle to getmuch needed supplies to countries that need it the most. Since the start of theyear, DHL Global Forwarding tapped on its network of life science andhealthcare facilities, temperature-controlled solutions and customs clearanceexpertise to fly more than 1.3million COVID-19 test kits from South Koreato Brazil, Ecuador, India, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Thefreight forwarder also launched a dedicated 100-tonweekly air freight service for organizationsand governments shipping health and medical-related items and other goods fromChina to Middle East and Africa.
Note to editors:
Vaccine logistics for Covid-19 will pose challenges alongthe supply chain that must be jointly addressed by governments, NGOs,pharmaceutical companies, and logistics players urgently. Find out what lessons Covid-19 has taughton securing stable supply chains for future emergencies and the complexities indistributing the vaccine across the globe.
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