NATO allies to discuss COVID-19 via video link
Foreign ministers will discuss measures members are taking in current crisis, says NATO chief
NATO foreign ministers are set to discuss the measures members are taking to counter coronavirus, the alliance's secretary-general said on Wednesday.
The ministers will convene via secure videoconference on Thursday, and the meeting will be chaired by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
"Our response to COVID-19 will be at the top of our agenda. We will address the measures NATO and allies are taking in the current crisis," said Stoltenberg in a video press conference ahead of the ministerial meeting.
"We will consider how to use NATO military capabilities and structures even more effectively to step up and to speed up our support to national efforts against COVID-19."
He added: "Just this morning, a military cargo plane with masks, protective equipment and other medical supplies has taken off from Turkey, heading to Italy and Spain."
It was in response to requests made through NATO's disaster relief coordination centre, Stoltenberg said.
After originating in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 180 countries and regions across the world. The epicenter has shifted from the Chinese mainland to Europe.
The virus has killed more than 44,000 people and infected over 883,000 globally, while some 185,300 people have recovered from the disease, according to figures collated by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.