British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Matthew Field dedicated his new blogpost - possibly the first one written from his home - to (what else?) the coronavirus pandemic.

Field noted that “we collectively face the greatest public health crisis in a generation”.

It is now abundantly clear that the entire world is affected, or will be so, and that every single one of us has a role to play”, Field wrote. “On the frontline are our doctors, nurses, emergency service staff, and similar critical workers. Many are continuing to do other essential work, the shop assistants, delivery staff, street cleaners, bakers and miners, on which we depend. Lots of companies have found creative ways to keep serving their customers. But this is a fight in which all of us can be heroes - and for most, that means staying where we are and helping to prevent the spread of the virus”.

The British Ambassador also provided some tips on what to do while at home. “Keep a routine, with regular breaks and time to switch off; keep in touch, with loved ones and colleagues; keep a purpose, in work terms, home schooling, or learning a new skill; keep moving, even if it’s on the spot jogging or discovering long-forgotten skipping rope; keep aware, but don’t spend too long reading bad news, instead look for the people doing good things”, Field suggested.

He noted that just like other countries, the UK had to first deal with containing and treating the problem at home. However, “in close coordination with our partners like the US, EU, UN and more, the UK also wants to help especially those countries most vulnerable to the impact, and international bodies supporting them, such as the World Health Organization.  

We have committed GBP 241 million in UK aid to fund the global effort to combat the outbreak, through UNICEF, Red Cross and others, with GBP 150 million for the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment Relief Trust, to cover debt repayments. We are helping Bosnia and Herzegovina and others through our support and financing of the international financial institutions and UN, and we fully welcome the IMF’s announcement of up to EUR 160 million in funding for Bosnia and EUR 80 million from the EU (to which we are still contributors)”, wrote Field.

The UK, according to Field, also wants to help find vaccines, new drugs and therapeutics, utilizing the country’s leading research hubs, in partnership with other scientific partners around the world. “We provided GBP 40 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to combat the spread of COVID-19. UK scientists are already supporting the global development and testing of eight different vaccine options”, he explained.

We have refocused our current technical support to authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to help with COVID-19 response, especially in communicating to the public - an area I think a huge effort has been made, with some examples of real excellence. And we are continuing as much of our assistance as possible, in areas like digitalization of business and government work, supporting vulnerable groups, and improving Armed Forces of BiH medical facilities. These needs, and the effort to build a better BiH, will only be increased by the current challenges”, wrote Field.

He noted that he was pleased that different agencies, crisis centers and governments had cooperated, across the country, and concluded that he had been impressed by the calm and sensible way people across Bosnia and Herzegovina have responded to the crisis.

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