Six-stamp mini-sheet, out July 24, raising money for WHO COVID-19 fund

A six-stamp semi-postal mini-sheet to be issued by the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) on July 24 will raise money for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund organized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Entitled, “We are all in this together – COVID-19,” the issue includes six stamps, each with a 50 cent surcharge. The stamps’ themes and denominations, excluding the 50-cent surcharge, are “personal hygiene” (55 cents); “myth-busting” ($1.20); “physical distance” (one Swiss franc); “spread kindness” (1.50 Swiss francs); “know the symptoms” (85 euro cents); and “solidarity” (one euro). They represent six key public health messages presented by the United Nations and WHO to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We are living in unprecedented times,” reads a notice published in the latest edition of the UNPA’s Fascination (Philatelic Bulletin #132), which adds the WHO is “leading and co-ordinating the global health response to coronavirus, helping to ensure all countries are ready to prevent, detect and respond to the pandemic.”

Three pictorial cancels will also be used at their respective UNPA post offices, including (from left to right) United Nations headquarters in New York City, the Palais des Nations in Geneva and the Vienna International Centre in Vienna.

“To be effective we need people everywhere to adopt public health precautions, act in solidarity and prevent the spread of misinformation. The United Nations in March 2020 requested a global call to creative people around the world for the COVID-19 response to help stop the spread of this disease. Thousands of creative people from around the world generously came together to support the United Nations and WHO’s efforts and communicate important visual messages to unite the world during this pandemic.”

COVID-19 SOLIDARITY RESPONSE FUND

Funds raised from the sale of this issue will go directly to supporting COVID-19 suppression efforts, according to the UNPA.

“We hope that by working in solidarity we can help stop the spread of this global pandemic. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Together we can save lives, protect resources and care for each other.”

The WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan outlines a funding need of at least $675 million US (more than $925 million Cdn.) for critical response efforts in countries most in need of help. As this outbreak evolves, funding needs are likely to increase, according to the WHO.

One of four first-day covers to be issued as part of the fundraising set features the entire six-stamp mini-sheet plus all three cancellations.

Fundraising efforts and donations are going towards funding the activities of the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, which include:

  • putting in place activities to track and understand the spread of the virus;
  • ensuring patients get the care they need;
  • buying and shipping essential supplies, including masks, gloves and protective wear for frontline workers;
  • producing evidence-based guidelines and advice while ensuring healthcare workers and first responders receive the necessary information and training to detect and treat affected patients;
  • producing guidance for the general public and particular groups on measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and
  • accelerating efforts to develop vaccines, tests and treatments.

The other three first-day covers are each franked with two stamps and their respective cancel (New York shown).

Designed by Rorie Katz, UNPA creative director, with illustrations by Chiara Fiori, of the United States, the stamps measure 30.45 millimetres by 35 millimetres. A total of 55,000 sheets (330,000 stamps), which measure 150 millimetres by 105 millimetres, were printed by France’s Cartor Security Printing using offset lithography.

Four first-day covers, which feature illustrations by Laura Paice, of the United Kingdom, will also be issued on July 24 as part of the semi-postal set.

To read more about COVID-19-related philatelic material, check out the first and second stories of a three-part series published in recent issues of CSN.

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