The distribution of food is a major part of the response in many places. Efforts in Namibia have been helped by triathlete Divan du Plooy. Speaking on behalf of the Namibian Triathlon Federation, he thanked members of the public who have been donating non-perishable items at special collection points, to be distributed in partnership with The Salvation Army, the Red Cross and local supermarkets.
With medical staff being so crucial in tackling the pandemic, some Salvation Army officers have felt called to temporarily return to previous work in that sector. In the UK, Lieutenant Daniel Holland is using his skills as a registered nurse to care for patients in the country’s health service. In Sweden, Captain Veronica Wahlström is working four days a week as an auxiliary nurse in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at her local hospital. Both officers are stepping up to help in a very practical way, with many other Salvation Army officers, members and volunteers making the most of medical knowledge to inform their work on the ground.
In Austria, The Salvation Army’s Haus Erna – which provides accommodation for men experiencing homelessness – has been offering emotional care for clients concerned about coronavirus. Staff have also arranged an online concert for residents and others connected with The Salvation Army, performed by renowned flautist Matei Ioachimescu.
Preventing the spread of coronavirus is a key concern, and The Salvation Army is finding ways to help with this wherever possible. In New York, USA, the Army is providing two of the three known publicly available showers in the city, ensuring that cleanliness is still possible for those without other means of showering, even under current restrictions.
The Salvation Army in Nigeria is using banners, leaflets and social media to raise awareness of the virus, to promote good practice in reducing its spread, and to provide information on testing and treatment. Hand sanitiser is also being distributed. This work is important in a country where hospital facilities are under great pressure.
In Botswana, though the population is taking steps to prevent the spread of infection, The Salvation Army has identified the discarding of tissues and face coverings to be a possible transmission path for the virus. As a result, it has worked to install additional dustbins in busy locations – such as bus stations, council offices and in public parks. The receptacles also feature a short message promoting good hygiene practices.
As some areas begin to move beyond the most dangerous stages of the outbreak locally, ongoing safety measures remain important. In Japan, The Salvation Army’s main hospital in Tokyo is now coronavirus-free, but enhanced hygiene and biosecurity precautions remain in place so that doctors and nurses can continue to provide extensive medical advice and treatment.