BBVA donates 35 million euros to fight coronavirus

Most of the aid will be used to purchase essential medical equipment

The amount donated by BBVA to combat COVID-19 in the countries where it operates has risen to 35 million euros, from the 25 million euros initially announced. A few days ago, the chairman of the BBVA Group, Carlos Torres Vila, explained how the company must "step forward" and use all its capacities and resources "to save lives, offset the economic impact and help others get through this difficult time."

Carlos Torres Vila, who noted the importance of "the coordinated efforts of authorities, supervisors, companies, and of society as a whole," also referred to the role of financial institutions as "an important part of the solution."  "We can and must do everything in our power, which is a lot, to help overcome the problem, and we will certainly overcome the problem," he said.

In addition to donations to charity organizations, most of the 35 million euros is being used to purchase essential medical devices, especially respirators.

To date, despite the worldwide shortage, two shipments of medical materials from China have already arrived in Spain (one of the most affected countries). The first shipment landed on Saturday, March 28 in Barcelona with 260 respirators for use outside ICUs, which have already been distributed to various hospitals nationwide. The second shipment landed at the Zaragoza airport on Tuesday, with 13 ICU respirators and another 740 respirators for use outside the UCI, which have also been distributed. And this same week, a third shipment with 400,000 masks will arrive in Spain.

The use of these mechanical breathing devices, both in ICUs and in other hospital settings, is key to saving the lives of patients whose lungs have been affected by the virus, since these machines give them time to fight the infection so they can recover.

BBVA is making all this material available to the Spanish Ministry of Health, and it is also handling the logistics of transporting it within Spain based on the priorities set by health authorities. The public-private partnership is proving essential to speeding up equipment purchases, guaranteeing reasonable prices and ensuring the timely delivery of goods.

Similarly, in the remaining countries where BBVA is present, priority efforts are being made to acquire medical materials to help local health authorities. Mexico and Turkey will be the first countries to receive respirators in coming weeks. BBVA Mexico recently announced a social responsibility action plan to join the various initiatives of the government and business and civil organizations for dealing with the pandemic.

The €35 million announced will be primarily used to purchase and donate medical equipment and to support programs and initiatives by local charity organizations.