Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Unite fly crucial medical supplies into Africa

The Virgin Group, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Unite are supporting UNICEF by donating a special cargo flight from Hong Kong to Johannesburg, delivering essential PPE equipment for frontline health workers.

The flight carried almost half a million items of PPE including masks, gowns, goggles and face shields. The items were procured by UNICEF to support the governments of Eswatini and Mozambique in their fight against Covid-19.  This flight follows existing PPE flights Virgin Atlantic have undertaken in partnership with the UK’s Department of Health and NHS to transport vital medical supplies to the UK.

Distribution of all items will be managed by the governments in each country to ensure the PPE reaches the areas and individuals in greatest need to help beat this pandemic.

Richard Branson, chairman of The Virgin Group said, “We’re very proud to be working with a collective of philanthropists and partners like UNICEF to support the African response to Covid-19. Life-saving protective equipment is critical to contain the spread of this pandemic and we hope our contribution will make a difference to those working so hard on the frontlines every day.”

Dominic Kennedy, managing director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo, commented, “We’re honoured to be able to support UNICEF and Virgin Unite on this important cargo operation and are incredibly grateful to medical professionals who are working tirelessly at this difficult time. Today’s flight follows existing PPE flights we’ve undertaken in partnership with the Department of Health and NHS to transport vital medical supplies. So far, we’ve carried more than 1.4million tonnes of medical equipment and PPE and we look forward to flying more throughout the summer.”

Covid-19 cases are rising in Africa, from 100,000 confirmed cases at the end of May to more than 276,000 confirmed cases as of 19 June.

This news follows last week’s launch of the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) - an online platform for African countries to manage global procurement of life-saving medical equipment more fairly and cost effectively. This unique platform is an example of how important collaboration, not just across one country, but across an entire continent, is going to be in combatting this global pandemic. The site was developed under the leadership of philanthropist and African Union Covid-19 special envoy, Strive Masiyiwa, working in partnership with the African Union.