24 May WALKING TO NORMALITY
The Mission has been heavily engaged since December 2019, in more than 40 training activities and the preparation of nearly 1.200 soldiers of the Malian Armed Forces (MaAF). These dynamics were disturbed by the arrival of COVID-19 cases to Mali in March. One month before, EUTM Mali started to adopt preventive measures, in accordance with the Malian authorities and the World Health Organization guidelines, in order to mitigate the risk of contagion and thus guarantee the health security not only of the EUTM Mali members but also of the MaAF trainees and the local population. To this end, a working group was established and a plan was developed to combine the training of medical teams, the establishment of laboratory technical agreements, the increase in levels of support, the preparation of isolation areas, vehicles and procedures for transport, the coordination of emergency evacuations, and control, hygiene and social distancing measures were implemented, as well as the organization of work and common spaces.
The Mission temporarily suspended training activities on April 3rd. Therefore, the Mission’s main effort was transferred in a balanced way to the advisory activities, while maintaining the link with the training audiences and also preparing the continuation of the Mission for the post-Pandemic period. Protection and sustainment measures were improved, in line with the evolution of the situation. On April 8th, the first case of COVID-19 within the Mission was confirmed, two weeks after the first contagion in Mali. Immediately confinement procedures were set, while maintaining an updated public information policy. As directed, the Mission identified risk groups elements (in accordance with data protection regulations), and essential and non-essential personnel related with the temporary suspension of training activities, in order to reduce manning and thus to increase preventive measures. The Mission continues to make all the necessary efforts towards the full recovery of its activities as the situation develops. The process of operationalization of the mandate review, which will ensure a significant growth of the Mission and the extension of its activities to the whole territory of Mali and to the other four countries of the Sahel, will also continue. The final phase of the plan will enable the Mission to fully re-establish its core activities, training and advisory activities.