I. General background
In light of the current novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) global pandemic (COVID-19), the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) have compiled a list of measures for humanitarian operators.
It serves as a guidance note as to how to be prepared before dispatching medicines and medical equipment to countries affected by COVID-19. Being aware of and complying to the measures put in place by Customs administrations and cross-border agencies leads to a reduction in delays at Customs entry points.
Humanitarian operations cannot take place without compliance to national legal frameworks and respect for State sovereignty.
Note on counterfeit medicines for humanitarian operators
“The WCO reminds the general public to exercise extreme caution when purchasing critical medical supplies from unknown sources, particularly online. The use of these goods may cost lives.
While the world is gripped by the fight against COVID-19, criminals have turned this into an opportunity for fraudulent activity. There have been an alarming number of reports quoting seizures of counterfeit critical medical supplies, such as face masks and hand sanitizers in particular.” WCO COVID-19 Urgent Notice: counterfeit medical supplies and introduction of export controls on personal protective equipment."
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