The International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR), a France-based independent intergovernmental organization promoting knowledge of all refrigeration fields, is the latest trade group to issue a statement calling on governments to “consider the various services of refrigeration and air conditioning as ‘essential services’ in the context of the fight against COVID-19.”
Posted April 15 on its website, the statement notes the importance of refrigeration worldwide, but especially in the response to the current pandemic.
“The various stakeholders in the refrigeration sector – producers, installers, engineers and technicians responsible for equipment servicing and maintenance – all play a major role in insuring the ongoing operation of refrigeration equipment,” said IIR in the statement. “This is essential in particular in hospitals, nursing homes for the elderly who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, as well as food retail and industries.”
Earlier in April, European HVAC&R industry organizations Eurovent and REHVA called upon authorities in Europe and the world to recognize manufacturing, installation and maintenance/repair of HVAC&R equipment as essential business activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide them with “reasonable exemptions” from shutdown orders and travel restrictions.
In it missive, IIR detailed the role refrigeration is playing at this time.Refrigeration is what “preserves pharmaceutical products and medicines, especially vaccines,” noted IIR, In addition, refrigeration is what makes new medical treatments “such as cryosurgery or cryotherapy” possible.
The statement also reminds governments that refrigeration is “vital for reducing post-harvest losses and in the preservation of food products”. Moreover, at a time when work and life have migrated online, “[d]eprived of refrigeration, data centres – and the internet – would collapse in minutes.” Refrigeration will also play a role in the reopening strategies of governments, still coping with the economic fallout of the mass shutdowns.
More broadly, the IIR notes that refrigeration is indispensable for industry, and is used in “numerous industrial processes such as chemicals, plastics and natural gas liquefaction (LNG)”.