Luxembourg, 27 May 2020 – The protection of our troops and civilian deployed in operations remains paramount. In its commitment to assist NATO nations and partners in the fight against COVID-19, NSPA has delivered a COVID-19 testing laboratory, together with three laboratory technicians, to increase the testing capacity of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission service members.
The facility is conducting virus detection on swab samples using RT-PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) technology, which will enable to detect infections quickly, limiting the spread of the virus and allowing to provide the necessary medical care for those infected. Previously, tests could only be conducted sending test samples to laboratories outside Afghanistan for analysis, which would usually take 7-10 days, due to the difficulty in shipping from Afghanistan and flight restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The laboratory is now fully operational and Resolute Support has started testing for its service members on 23 May 2020. Testing is available for all personnel serving under the 38-nation mission, including service members, civilians, contractors and Afghan workers living on Resolute Support bases."The three laboratory technicians underwent a 14-day pre-deployment quarantine before arriving in Afghanistan, allowing them to spring into immediate action", explained Philip Choppen, NSPA Medical Office Chief. "The capability was delivered with the stringent requirements not only to provide medically accurate and critical test results, but also to protect the laboratory staff and the surrounding environment", he added.
The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission continues to support Afghan security forces and institutions tackling the global pandemic. It is training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces, helping them to create the conditions for lasting peace and ensuring Afghanistan will never again become a safe haven for international terrorists.