South Korea plans to offer a total of 1 million protective masks to 22 countries, which helped the South fight against North Korea during the Korean War (1950-53).
The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs said Thursday that it would donate 500,000 face masks to the United States and the remaining 500,000 to 21 nations so that they will be able to better deal with COVID-19.
During the three-year war, 16 countries dispatched armed forces to counter the North Korean invasion, and six sent units in charge of medical treatments and building facilities.
Among almost 2 million foreign forces, who fought alongside South Korea, up to 38,000 sacrificed their lives, and more than 100,000 were injured.
“All of the 22 nations are struggling to contain the novel coronavirus. As veterans who took part in the Korean War are aged 88 on average, they would be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Hence, they urgently need masks,” an official from the ministry of veterans affairs told UPI News Korea.
The official said that half of the total amount would be sent to the United States because more than 90 percent of Korean War veterans are staying in the country.
The masks will be shipped to each destination beginning Friday.
The ministry plans to provide more face masks in the future as the number of new infections in Korea has dipped to around 10 or fewer in recent weeks.
Currently, exports of face masks are strictly banned, but their shipments for humanitarian aids are allowed.
An emblem of commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Korean War will be printed on the boxes of the 1 million masks along with the Seoul government’s anti-COVID-19 logo “Stay Strong.”
UPI News Korea provides this article. _ ED.