An international refrigeration advocacy and education group, the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR), issued a call to national governments to consider the various services of refrigeration and air conditioning as essential in the context of the spread of COVID-19 around the world.

IIR is an independent intergovernmental science and technology-based organization — with 69 member countries — that promotes knowledge of all refrigeration fields.

Refrigeration plays key roles in both the global and national economies and the global food supply, IIR notes. More than 15 million people are employed worldwide in the refrigeration sector. Refrigeration is vital for reducing post-harvest losses and in the preservation of food products. Refrigeration also is employed in numerous industrial processes such as chemicals, plastics and natural gas liquefaction (LNG).

Other industries that benefit from the capabilities provided by refrigeration include the healthcare sector, where refrigeration preserves pharmaceutical products and medicines, especially vaccines. Treatments such as cryosurgery or cryotherapy have been developed due to ultra-low temperature technologies. Deprived of refrigeration, data centers would collapse in minutes.

Producers, installers, engineers and technicians responsible for equipment servicing and maintenance play key — and essential — roles in ensuring the ongoing operation of refrigeration equipment.