The coronavirus has caught us off guard. No matter what country you are from, and no matter how your government reacted, no one was expecting it to be this bad. While certain Asian countries are recovering, most of Europe and South America is in quarantine. And, unfortunately, the prognosis is that a lot of countries already have urgent shipping needs of emergency relief supplies, and will require medical help in order to see this crisis through, even with increased safety measures. So, what is shipping medical supplies going to be like in the coming months and how much will it be affected by the current crisis? Well, let’s take a closer look in order to attempt to answer these complex questions .
There is hardly a country in the EU that has all the necessary medical equipment to easily handle coronavirus. With hope, the current measures of quarantine and limited travel should make this a long-lasting but slow outbreak, during which the current medical staff and equipment will be enough to help the ones in need. However, if any country is hit with the kind of outbreak that happened in Italy, we will see a tremendous need for medical equipment.
Mind you, this is the case if we only focus on the EU. Once you consider certain countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, you can easily expect a much grimmer situation. So, if there is one thing that we can say for sure it is that a large number of countries will need tremendous help with healthcare supplies, medical staff, and machines.
Once the crisis is over we will be able to take a more objective look at how well China handled the outbreak and whether they could have done more to prevent it. But for now, we can only applaud them for their generous help. China has been selfless in sending its experienced professionals and in providing medical relief to countries that are currently in danger.
The situation in Italy would be much more difficult if they didn’t have help from Chinese professionals. And, if the situation in Spain and other Mediterranean countries improves, they will have China to thank. As of now, we can expect that China will focus its production of more medical equipment. Since they are in a downward trend with the number of infected Chinese people, they should continue shipping medical equipment to countries in need.
It is still hard to estimate which countries will be hit the most with coronavirus. But, if we take into account the state of healthcare in various countries and the policies that they have instated so far, along with general living conditions, we should be able to come up with certain countries that will probably have urgent shipping needs in the near future. These are:
Should these countries experience a significant outbreak, we can expect a major influx of medical relief. While countries like Germany, UK, and France have a larger number of cases, their healthcare systems are better equipped. Plus, they are further along with the outbreak, which makes comparing the numbers at the moment irrelevant.
According to the way in which people with coronavirus are responding, there are a couple of items that will be most in need. Among them are respirators, masks, and disinfectants. So far, only a few countries have enough respirators to handle a mild corona outbreak. Therefore, the one thing we will see is planes and ships distributing respirators worldwide to hospitals. Masks and disinfectants are also necessary for hospitals but are also bought by the wider population. In fact, in some countries, there is a constant lack of them as the sales have seen a 4000% increase.
So, will ships and planes be the only method of shipping medical equipment during this time of need? Of course not. Once those supplies arrive at ports, trucks will have to make hospital deliveries on a regular basis. Plus, as hospitals start needing more space, they will end up using closed schools as makeshift facilities. Overall, if we can learn anything from the situation in Italy it’s that there will be a huge need for emergency logistics for the efficient distribution of medial relief brought in from other countries. So, will all countries be able to deal with emergency logistics? Well, one way to deal with this is to use PLM solutions to prevent errors in shipping. Even so, logistics will likely be difficult to handle.
The important thing to note here is that we don’t have a full grasp of what is going to happen. No one does. The outbreak in China has taught us that the COVID-19 virus is a serious business and that we need to handle it with care. But, what Italy has taught us is that modern, democratic societies are reluctant to do so. Even with friendly warnings from affected people, and outright bans from the state, people are unwilling to simply stay at home. So, will medical relief really help us out?
Again, it’s hard to make predictions. If we are lucky, we should see a long corona spring/summer. During it, healthcare workers will work hard but will manage to help a large number of people. If so, reliable companies that ship medical supplies will be a godsend. But, if countries that are densely populated experience a true, fast coronavirus outbreak, no amount of emergency relief shipping will be able to help. Remember, there is still no country that is completely done with the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, while everyone will want to help, most will simply be unable to.
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