Swiss development aid re-allocated to combat virus

Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Aid, in the form of 10,000 protective suits, was delivered to Italy on Thursday, while funding has been allocated for multilateral efforts to combat Covid-19 worldwide.

This content was published on April 10, 2020 - 12:04

Citing the importance of international solidarity, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) announced on Thursday that it had already sent a shipment of protective suits, worth CHF100,000 ($103,625), to Italy, with another delivery planned.

Similar donations had previously been made to China, Nepal, and Serbia, the SDC wrote.

It also specified that such actions are first discussed with relevant government ministries – notably health, economics, and economic supply – to ensure that they are in line with national measures to combat Covid-19, and that much-needed Swiss supplies aren’t depleted.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a situation of national caution around the import and export of vital medical equipment. Earlier this week, a truck was stopped on its way from Italy into Switzerland, and a cargo of disinfectant confiscated by border guards.

Switzerland, meanwhile, received large quantities of protective material, including gowns, from China this week.

Financial help

As well as the deliveries, the SDC also wrote that CHF18 million has been allocated to multilateral groups working to combat the virus internationally: the World Health Organisation, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the World Bank, and the Global Fund.

The SDC’s general aid priorities and programs have also been slightly adjusted due to the crisis.

In various nations – Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Bolivia, Honduras, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Moldova, Kosovo – budgets will be redistributed over the coming months towards projects aiming to boost income and basic living conditions, to develop emergency health facilities, secure food supplies, and help refugees or displaced people.

While Switzerland, along with much of the developed world, struggles with the fallout from the pandemic, the SDC warns that less wealthy nations, especially in Africa, risk an even greater crisis should the virus break out there to the same extent as it has in Europe.

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