AU Welcomes Jack Ma’s Support as COVID-19 Cases Nears 35, 000

ADDIS ABABA – African Union said today medical supplies donated by Jack Ma would be “extremely important” in the fight against COVID-19 as confirmed cases in the continent reach 35, 000.

The pan African bloc said all 55 member states “will soon receive further medical supplies for their COVID19 response” while receiving the third batch medical supplies donation, weighing 125 tonnes in total, in Addis Ababa.

The latest donation consists of 4.6 million single-use surgical masks, 500,000 medical gloves, 300 ventilators, 500,000 each of swabs, extraction, and detection tests.

The consignment also includes 500 000 civilian-use KN95 masks, 100 000 medical-grade N95 masks, 200,000 pieces of protective clothing, 200,000 face shields, 2,000 thermometer guns and 100 infrared thermo detection machines.

“COVID19 has brought the AU a very challenging situation but the Union has risen up to it through integration, unity and collaboration. We are going to transport the equipment to the various hubs across the continent,” said Kwesi Quartey, AU Commission Deputy Chairperson.

To date, COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, has killed 1,521 in Africa as the number of cases across the continent rose from 31,933 on Tuesday to 34,915 as of Wednesday afternoon.

“The supplies we have just received are going to be extremely important in supporting our efforts across the three pillars that we are engaged in i.e. to help prevent transmission of COVID19, and to prevent deaths and harm in our community,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDCP).

Jack Ma Foundation’s donations started as an initiative of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Jack Ma. Two other consignments arrived on 22nd March and on the 6th of April and subsequently distributed to African nations via Ethiopian airlines.

The value of global solidarity in the COVID19 response needs to be appreciated, said Ethiopia’s minister of health Dr. Lia Tadesse, adding that today’s donations are testimony of such solidarity.

Image: Health workers at the isolation centre in Bole Chefe in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, are using their previous training on Ebola preparedness to respond to the threat of COVID-19. [Photo File/WHO]
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