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Korea reaches out to Navajos, Iran with COVID-19 supplies

Ashley Pyne, right, helps her son, Elijah, complete a nasal swipe for COVID-19 testing in Picuris Pueblo, N.M., Thursday, April 24, 2020. Small Native American pueblo tribes across New Mexico are embracing extraordinary social distancing measures that include guarded roadblocks and universal testing for the coronavirus in efforts to insulate themselves from a contagion with frightening echoes of the past. (AP-Yonhap)
Ashley Pyne, right, helps her son, Elijah, complete a nasal swipe for COVID-19 testing in Picuris Pueblo, N.M., Thursday, April 24, 2020. Small Native American pueblo tribes across New Mexico are embracing extraordinary social distancing measures that include guarded roadblocks and universal testing for the coronavirus in efforts to insulate themselves from a contagion with frightening echoes of the past. (AP-Yonhap)

The South Korean government and nonprofit organizations are offering quarantine and medical supplies to countries fighting the novel coronavirus in a bid to boost relations in challenging times.

According to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs on Monday, the 70th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee will deliver 10,000 face masks and other health protective items to the members of native American Navajo tribe who fought in the 1950-53 Korean War.

Currently, the native tribe suffers a higher per capita number of COVID-19 cases than citizens in other US states. With some 356,000 Navajo people residing in parts of four states, including Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

Some 800 Navajo men participated in the Korean War seven decades ago and approximately 130 of them are alive.

“The government remembers those who made noble sacrifices to defend a strange country 70 years ago, and we hope they will proudly tell their posterity about the choice they made so many years ago,” committee co-chairman Kim Eun-gi said.

Logistics, however, is proving difficult, due to government shutdowns that arealso affecting divisions of the Department of Veterans Affairs in charge of the jurisdiction.

Korean embassies there are seeking other channels to get them delivered as early as Wednesday.

On Sunday, the Korean Embassy in Iran said it provided COVID-19 diagnostics kits worth $1 million in humanitarian aid to Iran, one of the most severely hit countries with over 120,000 cases.

The embassy donated the test kits to Pasteur Institute of Iran, Korea‘s state-run medical research institute for promoting friendship and developing relations between the two countries.

In April, the Korean government sent some $200,000 worth medical equipment to Iran, including a polymerase chain reaction machine used to carry out PCR tests for the virus, and disinfection sprays.

A Korean nonprofit organization Global Honors Network said Monday that it will provide humanitarian aid to Abkhazia, a breakaway territory of Georgia.

The group will provide COVID-19 diagnostics testing to Abkhazia people by establishing the first Korean hospital there and testing kits offered by local companies and health care facilities.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com
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