NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 22 – The massive donation from Jack Ma to help Africa combat coronavirus has arrived.
A plane carrying the donation landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday, officials said.
It was loaded with 5.4 million masks, 1.08 million testing kits, 40,000 protective suits and 60,000 protective masks.
The cargo was from the Jack Ma Foundation after the Chinese billionaire offered to support all the 54 African countries manage the crisis that has led to most countries declaring lockdowns to prevent the spread of the pandemic that is in more than 25 countries in the continent.
In Kenya, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said 8 more cases had been confirmed, raising the number to 15 by Sunday, while as many as 500 were being sought after contact with the positive cases.
Officials said the cargo from Jack Ma, will be distributed to all the countries in the continent.
Jack Ma is also supporting the US and Europe which is worst hit globally. On Sunday, officials in Italy said 4,800 medical personnel had tested positive for the pandemic that has killed close to 5,000 there, a toll higher than the people who died in China.
Last week, Jack Ma Foundation offered the United States 500,000 coronavirus test kits and a million masks, as the country faces a shortage of kits for diagnosing the potentially deadly disease. He also donated to Europe.
“We cannot ignore the potential to Africa and assume this continent of 1.3 billion people will blissfully escape the crisis,” he said through his foundation in a statement, “The World cannot afford the unthinkable consequences of a COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.”
To combat the potential surging demand for medical supplies and equipment in Africa, he said, “Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation will donate to each of the 54 African nations 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 face masks and 1000 medical use protective suits and face shields.”
“We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!” he said in the statement, which was posted by the Jack Ma Foundation.
Jack Ma, who is China’s richest man, said that over the past weeks, his organizations had helped provide similar supplies to virus-hit countries such as Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Spain.
“The pandemic we face today can no longer be resolved by any individual country,” Jack Ma said. “We can’t beat this virus unless we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our know-how and hard-earned lessons,” Jack Ma said.
The US government has come under heavy criticism for the slowness of testing for the virus, and public health officials have rebuked President Donald Trump for playing down the seriousness of the fast-spreading pandemic.
Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner in the race to face Trump in elections in November, slammed the lack of test kits on Thursday.
“The administration’s failure on testing is colossal, and it’s a failure of planning, leadership and execution,” the former vice president said.