Covid-19 in Africa: Jack Ma donates medical supplies

Tuesday March 24 2020
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Jack Ma, co-founder and former executive chair of Alibaba Group, speaks during the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore on October 15, 2019. PHOTO | ROSLAN RAHMAN | AFP

By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE

The first round of emergency medical care supplies donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma to boost war on coronavirus arrived Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Government officials said an Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane flew from Chinese city Guangzhou and landed at Bole International Airport.

According to Ethiopian officials and Alibaba Foundation, 5.4 million face masks, 1.08 million test kits, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 sets of face shields were received.

"The faster we move the earlier we can help. Getting these donations to all African countries with diverse geographic conditions and different levels of infrastructure is a great logistical and transportation challenge. We are working around the clock to make the delivery as fast as possible," Alibaba Foundation said in a statement.

Tracking coronavirus

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday said distribution of the equipment will start Monday, as more supplies are expected.

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In a message posted on Twitter on March 13, Ma said: "Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and provision of adequate protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus."

More African countries report new cases - Kenya now has 15 positive ones.