Ambassador Kosnett’s Remarks at Ventilator Donation Event, August 25, 2020
Good afternoon, everyone. Minister Zemaj, colleagues and friends, especially representative of the first responders.
On behalf of the United States of America, I am honored to be here today to welcome the arrival of this important shipment from the United States.
These 50 newly manufactured, state of the art ventilators are crucial life-saving devices for the people of Kosovo. This contribution reflects President Trump’s personal commitment to assist the people of Kosovo in combatting the pandemic.
In addition to today’s shipment, the United States has provided Kosovo with other assistance against COVID, including the distribution of thousands of hygiene kits to health centers and families in need throughout Kosovo’s 38 municipalities; the placement of temperature scanners at eight ports of entry, including Pristina Airport; and the provision of RT-PCR machines and laboratory equipment to increase Kosovo’s testing capacities.
Our ability to provide such assistance demonstrates the commitment of our government and private sector to cooperate to adapt to the COVID-19 threat, putting America’s industrial and scientific potential to work for the common good.
But let me be clear – while the U.S. and other international partners continue to provide assistance and advice to support Kosovo in fighting the pandemic, the principal responsibility must lie with the government and people of Kosovo.
We need to face facts squarely. Kosovo has seen a disconcerting and rapid increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19. The statistics are worrisome. Hospitals are overstretched, which challenges their ability to help all patients, not just those suffering from COVID.
Recently the Government and Assembly have taken positive measures, such as passing legislation to empower the government to act more decisively against the pandemic.
I hope that the results of ongoing budget discussions will reflect a similar realistic understanding of the need to prioritize action against the disease. In the words of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, “In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics.”
But many members of the public do not seem to take the threat of COVID seriously. Preventing the disease from spreading is far simpler and cheaper than treating patients once they are infected. Thus it is important for Kosovo’s citizens to adhere strictly to the measures that will decrease the threat of infection. Remember that even if you belong to a demographic – such as healthy young people – at moderate risk, if you are not careful you can easily infect elderly or otherwise vulnerable family members.
The most important measures are not costly. Wear your masks properly. Wash your hands frequently. Keep distance while in public. The alternative to strict adherence to such measures – as recommended by your government – is to see unnecessary deaths and more drastic restrictions on daily life.
For decades, the United States has stood beside the people of Kosovo. We stand with you now. Together, we can defeat COVID-19.
Thank you. Faleminderit. Hvala