April 28, 2020 / 9:35 AM / a month ago

WHO stepping up shipments but warns on disruption of vaccine, food supplies

GENEVA, April 28 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that it is stepping up shipments of diagnostic tests and protective equipment, with a new focus on Latin America where COVID-19 is spreading.

Paul Molinaro, chief of WHO operations support and logistics, said that global vaccine shipments were disrupted in April and if it continued into May there will be gaps in immunisations as well as disruption in some food supply chains.

“We saw the international air transport system on which we are quite dependent for movement of cargo gradually shut down. So we are at the point now where we need to look for solutions to this,” Molinaro told a UN virtual news briefing in Geneva. It was “always willing to take more offers” of commercial aircraft.

Panama will serve as a hub for regional distribution of personal protective equipment and other supplies in Latin America, he said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge;

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