TIRANA, April 3 (Xinhua) -- Representatives of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) signed here on Friday a 4-million-euro (around 4.3 million U.S. dollars) donation agreement to support Albania with medical equipment in fighting COVID-19.
The signing ceremony, broadcasted on Facebook, was held on Friday with the participation of Luigi Soreca, head of EU Delegation to Albania, UN Resident Coordinator in Albania Brian J. Williams, and Albanian Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu.
EU will allocate 4 million euros in aid to Albania to cover the immediate needs of public health system amid the COVID-19 outbreak and will be assisted in this process by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
Speaking at the live video conference, Soreca said the agreement will enable prompt and immediate delivery of medical equipment, both for the prevention of COVID-19 and the treatment of patients.
"Some of these EU-funded devices will be scanners, ventilators, ambulances equipped with all medical devices to save lives and provide transportation and first aid for the most serious cases. There will also be portable x-ray machines, digital radiography as well as some state of the art devices for resuscitation ward. These devices have been considered to be very necessary by the Health Ministry in Albania and the World Health Organization," Soreca said
Williams said the EU has demonstrated its solidarity with Albania and the Westerns Balkans by rapidly allocating resources to bolster Albania's response.
He congratulated the Albanian government for its rapid and robust measures to enforce physical distancing, undertake public health testing and contact tracing, prepare medical facilities, communicate critical information to the public, all with the aim to flatten the curve, adding that "UN in Albania has been loudly supportive of the measures taken by the government."
"Flattening the curve buys Albania some time, critical time that it can use to reinforce its medical systems to be even better prepared. The support of the EU is therefore very timely," William added.
For her part, Manastirliu expressed gratitude for the immediate commitment and response of the EU towards Western Balkans in this challenging time for the health care systems, calling the EU's assistance to Albania "vital".
"Our focus remains on flattening the curve and extending it in time in buying time to reinforce our capacities, testing, isolating and treating. This is a war that cannot be fought within the borders of one country and it is our common fight that needs all our efforts," Manastirliu added.
Through EU's support, she noted, her ministry will be able to mobilize more resources in the fight against COVID-19.
This is the first part of the 50 million euros that EU has pledged to Albania to fight coronavirus outbreak and recover its economy.