Via Briefing With Dr. William Walters, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Operations, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Ian Brownlee, Bureau of Consular Affairs On COVID-19: Updates on Health Impact and Assistance for American Citizens Abroad | APRIL 14, 2020
QUESTION: Hey, thank you. Have you heard from any of the diplomatic posts overseas that they are having issues obtaining proper PPE given kind of the global shortages, particularly those who are interacting with folks who are being repatriated?
DR WALTERS: Yeah, it’s Doc Walters. So with regard to PPE overseas, our – as part of our ongoing preparedness well in advance of this pandemic, the Bureau of Medical Services has small stockpiles of PPE and other countermeasures at each post. We have supplemented that, again, well in advance of the crush on the supply chain that’s occurred. And so our health care providers overseas and our consular officers are provided with PPE appropriate to their interaction, understanding that there are going to be times when you come into unexpected contact with American citizens and no one’s going to stop what they’re doing in helping an American citizen.
But we – as part of the safety net, both there’s the PPE side, but there’s also the small community in each of our posts that is overseen by a medical provider from the bureau, either a direct hire or locally employed, and that – that drives the statistics that I provide at the beginning of each one of these briefs, and what we’re seeing is a fairly flat curve and no ongoing employee-to-employee transmission patterns that we’ve been able to identify.