RAF flying to fight coronavirus

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The first of a series of Royal Air Force (RAF) flights taking medical supplies to Africa to help fight the coronavirus pandemic took off at the weekend.

A RAF C-17 took off from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire on a journey funded by the Department for International Development. The transport carried a field hospital, to be used as a backup facility for frontline aid workers in West Africa. Aid workers from around the world are crucial in West Africa working to improve health systems, prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives.

It comes after the UK responded to a request by the UN to NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Co-ordination Centre. The UN is leading global logistics efforts to ensure medical supplies reach those who need them most during the pandemic.

With commercial flights disrupted and the cost of cargo flights escalating, the UK’s support is crucial according to the UK government website.

The UK-aid funded field hospital was organised by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and has capacity to care for up to 92 people.

The UK previously announced £15 million of support to WFP for its coronavirus response.

The 130 ton field hospital will be transported to Accra in up to five flights. It will then be erected to support coronavirus response where the need is greatest.

International development secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the field hospital will be an important part of the global battle against coronavirus emphasising the effort was “best of British – the UK military and UK aid – working to solve a global problem”.