BBVA’s has increased its initial €25 million commitment to €35 million to be used in to fight the coronavirus pandemic in the countries within its operating footprint. BBVA Group Executive Chairman Carlos Torres Vila recently explained that the bank must “step up” and use everything in its power and all its resources “to save lives, alleviate the economic impact, and help others overcome these difficult times.”
Carlos Torres Vila, when emphasizing the importance of the “coordinated efforts of everyone — authorities, supervisors, companies and society as a whole,” also referred to the role of banks as “an important part of the solution.” “We can and we must do everything in our power, which is significant, to help deal with this situation, and we will certainly overcome the crisis,” he asserted.
In addition to helping social organizations, the lion’s share of the €35 million will be allocated to acquiring urgent medical supplies, namely ventilators.
To date, and in the context of a global shortage, two shipments of medical supplies have already reached Spain (one of the hardest hit countries) from China. The first shipment arrived on Saturday, April 28, at Barcelona, consisting of 260 ventilators for support outside ICUs that have already been distributed to different hospitals across the nation. The second shipment was received at the Zaragoza airport on Tuesday, with 13 ventilators for ICU and 740 ventilators for support outside ICU, which have also been distributed. A third dispatch will arrive in the coming week with 400,000 masks.
Carlos Torres Vila: "We can and we must do everything in our power, which is significant, to help deal with this situation"
The use of these mechanical breathing devices, both at ICUs and other hospital areas, is key to assisting patients with respiratory systems compromised by the virus, as the machines give them time to fight the infection and recover.
BBVA is providing the Spanish Ministry of Health with all this material and is also arranging all transportation thereof within the Spanish territory, in accordance with the priorities established by health authorities. Public-private partnerships are proving key to expediting equipment purchases, securing reasonable prices and ensuring the timely arrival of shipments.
Across the remainder of its corporate footprint, BBVA is also focusing its efforts on medical equipment purchases to support local health authorities. Mexico and Turkey will be the first countries receiving ventilators in the coming days. BBVA in Mexico recently announced a social responsibility action plan in support of the different initiatives promoted by the government and business and civil society organizations to face the pandemic.
The €35 million announced will be mainly devoted to the procurement and donation these medical units and to support programs and initiatives promoted by local community organizations.