Coronavirus: UAE sends over six tonnes of aid to medics in the UK

To date, the country has sent more than 716 tonnes of medical aid to 63 countries.

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The UAE sent a plane carrying over six tonnes of medical supplies to the UK to bolster efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The shipment arrived at Heathrow Airport on a special chartered flight on Friday morning with 6.6 tonnes of melt blown fabric to make surgical face masks.

There is currently a global shortage of the material and its export is restricted from the UAE.

This single consignment will enable the UK to manufacture millions of face masks.

"We are delighted to be able to assist Britain, one of our closest friends and allies. The UAE is committed to helping fight Covid-19 wherever it can and has donated aid to 63 countries around the world," said Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE’s ambassador to the UK.

With careful supply chain management, the UAE has not exhausted domestic supplies of melt blown fabric, which is used in the oil industry and is manufactured in the UAE.

The UAE has sent aid to the UK in the past as the country remains committed to the global fight against the pandemic.

On May 1, 60 tonnes of urgent medical aid were sent to help the National Health Service in the UK on the orders of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

The NHS has been given rent-free use of ExCel London, the conference centre owned by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre which is currently NHS Nightingale.

To date, the country has sent more than 716 tonnes of medical aid to 63 countries. More than 716,000 medical professionals have been assisted around the world.

Most recently, on June 4, the emirates sent eight tonnes of medical supplies to Cuba to assist about 8,000 medical professionals as they work to contain the virus.

The UAE has also donated $10 million (Dh36.7m) worth of Covid-19 testing kits, enough for 500,000 people, to the World Health Organisation.

The donation supports global efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus and improve testing in countries where kits are scarce.

Earlier, Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation, addressed the Global Vaccine Summit 2020.

Ms Al Hashimy said the country remained committed to a future free from disease and to fighting Covid-19.

"I reaffirm my country's commitment to freeing the next generation from disease and creating a healthier, more prosperous world for all through immunisation," Ms Al Hashimy said.

World leaders met at the online conference to raise $7.4 billion for replenish Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, over the next five years.

Ms Al Hashimy highlighted the work the UAE has done with Gavi over many years with other diseases, and recent efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are also dedicating significant resources to the global health agenda focusing on ending preventable diseases that affect the world's poorest," she said.

Last week, Ms Al Hashimy attended another online pledging conference, aimed at raising $2.4bn to support aid operations in Yemen and curb the spread of the coronavirus there.