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China continues to support Africa in fight against COVID-19

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-07-08 21:39
Mame Fama Dieng Gaye (left, front), director of the Children's Hospital of Diamniadio in Senegal, receives donation from Gong Zhen, chief of the Chinese technical assistant team of Jiangsu Construction Engineering Group, on June 19, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Chinese government and the private sector have continued to step up cooperation with Africa since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in efforts to help alleviate a shortage of medical supplies on the continent.

So far, Africa has received thousands of medical masks, personal protective equipment and test kits, among other items, from Chinese companies and the government.

The private sector's act of kindness, which was kicked off by Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations, among others, has seen many other companies follow suit in donating needed medical supplies to help the continent fight the pandemic.

Over the past few weeks, coronavirus cases have been increasing rapidly in the continent, with infections currently standing at over 490,000, with more than 11,000 deaths.

This trend has seen the African Union (AU) leaders call on developed countries, multilateral institutions and the donor community to provide vulnerable countries in the continent with necessary support in the form of diagnostic and therapeutic medical supplies, as well as financial support.

Riding on the longstanding friendship between China and Africa, the Chinese government and companies have continued to respond to the call.

On Tuesday, the Botswana Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Gaborone Overseas Chinese Service Center donated $279,910 to the Botswana COVID-19 Relief Fund in Botswana's capital Gaborone.

Slumber Tsogwane, the vice-president of Botswana, thanked the Chinese community for their support and assured citizens that the government was committed to fighting the pandemic and ensuring that the economy recovers.

China Yutong Bus, one of the world's major bus and coach suppliers, on Tuesday announced that so far it has donated more than 1.2 million medical masks to Africa in efforts to fight coronavirus pandemic.

The masks were donated to Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Sudan and Angola among other African countries, where the company also shared the experience of public transport pandemic prevention in China.

In mid-June, donation handover ceremonies were held at the Ghana Transport Bureau, police headquarters and the Ministry of Health.

"I am very grateful for Yutong's act of kindness, which will greatly prevent the spread of the virus," Mabel Sagoe, the minister of transport, said.

During Ethiopia's donations handover on April 25, engineer Endawk Habte, the deputy mayor of Yadiz, expressed his gratitude to China Yutong Bus for the assistance.

"We thank Yutong for this generous donation and the wonderful travel service it has provided for a long time, and hope that other companies will learn from it," Habte said.

In addition to donating the masks, the company also has compiled an epidemic prevention manual and has added some technical epidemic prevention configurations to public transport products to help African people travel healthily.

The three Chinese medical teams in Sierra Leone recently announced extension of their one-year stay to help fight against coronavirus in the west African country.

The Chinese medical experts who arrived in June 2019, have been working around the clock with their Sierra Leonean counterparts in detecting, diagnosing, and treating coronavirus cases.

The Chinese government also has continued to donate medical supplies to the continent through its embassies in Africa.

On July 2, for instance, through its embassy in Liberia, China handed over nearly $3 million worth of drugs and equipment to Liberia's Ministry of National Defense for use by the 14th Military Hospital.

In a communique after a recent video-teleconference meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly of the AU heads of state and government with chairs of the AU Regional Economic Communities, the AU lauded China for its significant contribution to the fight against coronavirus in the continent.

The group particularly thanked the country for setting aside a portion of its manufacturing capacity to ensure the supply of 30 million testing kits, 10,000 ventilators and 80 million masks each month for the continent.

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