NATO has been consulting closely with Allies and partners from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of these efforts, Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana has participated in weekly coordination calls since mid-March, led by US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun. The calls include participation at the level of deputy minister by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
The Deputy Secretary General said: “I welcome the leadership of the United States in convening these coordination meetings. NATO Allies stand in solidarity in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our nations are cooperating to airlift critical supplies across the globe, share medical expertise, and develop innovative responses.” He added: “Regular consultations allow us to exchange information and best practice, identify needs and make offers of assistance. They also provide a forum for coordinating responses to state and non-state actors attempting to exploit the crisis, including with disinformation and propaganda. As Allies respond, we are stronger together. NATO will continue supporting the joint response to this crisis for as long as required.”
The coordination calls have also addressed issues including repatriation of citizens abroad, mitigating the effects of border closures on global supply chains, efforts to develop vaccines and therapeutics, support for at-risk countries, and work to reenergize global growth and economic prosperity.
NATO Foreign and Defence Ministers addressed the COVID-19 pandemic at online meetings in April. Ministers tasked NATO’s top operational commander, General Tod Wolters, to coordinate military support to Allies and partners. They also agreed a set of recommendations to strengthen Allies’ resilience, by updating baseline requirements for civil preparedness, and working even more closely with international partners. The consequences of the pandemic will be addressed again by NATO Defence Ministers in June.
Since the beginning of the crisis, military forces from across the Alliance have stepped up to support our shared response. They have flown more than one hundred missions to transport medical personnel and supplies, facilitated the construction of field hospitals, and added tens of thousands of treatment beds. Thousands of Allied military medical personnel have been deployed in support of civilian efforts.