Coronavirus: Prince Charles makes donation to charity tackling pandemic in conflict zones

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·Royal Correspondent
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Prince Charles has made an undisclosed donation to a charity which is combating COVID-19 among the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Charles, 71, recorded a video message in support of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in which he discussed the threat of coronavirus to refugees in Syria and Cameroon.

He said IRC volunteers are working in areas of “conflict and crisis” where hospital beds and ventilators are a “rarity”, saying life is “precarious” enough without a global pandemic to manage.

He added: “In these places, the situation is desperately grave. Some 70 million refugees and displaced people are vulnerable in ways few of us can imagine.

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“Just think for a moment: How do you socially distance in a crowded, sprawling refugee camp? How do you protect yourself, and your family, from this virus when you don’t have basic access to soap and water?

“How do you keep up hope when doctors and nurses are nowhere to be seen? The answer lies in organisations with the experience, the expertise and the determination to help in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.”

Migrants and refugees, some wearing facemasks for protective measures, queue in a makeshift camp next to the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos on April 2, 2020. - Over 20 coronavirus cases were found in a camp near Athens this week. At the camp of Moria on the island of Lesbos, both doctors and migrants say health precautions are not much help in a facility that is so badly overcrowded. The novel coronavirus could spread faster in overcrowded refugee and displaced persons camps than it has anywhere else so far, warned the International rescue Committee. (Photo by Manolis LAGOUTARIS / AFP) (Photo by MANOLIS LAGOUTARIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Coronavirus could spread faster in overcrowded refugee and displaced persons camps according to the International Rescue Committee. (Getty Images)

The IRC is an humanitarian organisation founded by Albert Einstein and Charles is a UK patron.

While Charles was self-isolating in Birkhall, having tested positive for coronavirus, he had a video call with former foreign secretary David Miliband, who is now the president and CEO of the IRC.

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After the call, Miliband noted: “I was very struck about how he was very concerned about the global picture as well as his first priority being in the UK…”

The IRC has estimated there could be one billion infections and 3.2 million deaths due to COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic in 34 crisis-affected countries where the IRC works, unless quick action is taken.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Matt Hancock the UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care speaks as a video from the Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay while in Scotland, watches as they attend the opening of the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre on April 3, 2020 in London, England. The field hospital will initially contain 500 beds with ventilators and oxygen and will have the capacity to eventually hold up to 4,000 COVID-19 patients. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Part of Charles's work in lockdown has included virtual hospital openings. (Getty)

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Laura Kyrke-Smith, executive director of the IRC in the UK, said: “There remains a small window of time to mount a robust response to COVID-19 while it is still in early stages in fragile countries, which is why we are so grateful to have the Prince of Wales’s support at this crucial time and would ask those who can to join him in supporting our work.”

Charles has spoken for several weeks about the impact of coronavirus both on the earth itself and on the global population.

Back in early March, he called for governments to mobilise with the same urgency against climate change as they had done for coronavirus.

And on Earth Day, Charles said the retreat of humans into lockdown had proved the earth could heal, if people would let it.

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