China assists Asia in fighting coronavirus

Alaturka Saglik Haberleri

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – China has sent medical supplies to several South and Southeast Asian nations to help them stem the fast growing coronavirus pandemic.

Beijing's assistance coincided with a call from the World Health Organization (WHO) that urged South Asian countries to scale-up their fight against the deadly coronavirus.

In Pakistan, a special plane carrying medical supplies, including over 50,000 testing kits, face masks, and other equipment landed on Friday, an official statement said.

This was the second cache of medical supplies donated by Beijing to its longtime ally Islamabad in less than a week.

China’s Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming handed over medical supplies including 10,000 testing kits, 10,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) and 1,000 infrared thermometers, Bangladeshi officials said Thursday.

“On the independence of Bangladesh this a gift to friendly Bangladesh,” Li told reporters at Dhaka airport.

Nepal, which is struggling with lack of medical equipment in its battle against COVID-19, has reached out to Beijing.

A Chinese company, Savanta Biotechnology, on Wednesday donated 2,000 sets of coronavirus testing kits to Nepal’s Embassy in Beijing.

The kits worth $4700 are likely to reach Kathmandu over the weekend.

On Saturday, Nepal is sending a chartered plane to the Chinese city of Guangzhou to bring back medical supplies and equipment.

China has granted Sri Lanka a concessionary loan of $500 million to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

In a related development, Jack Ma, China's top philanthropist and founder of Ali Baba Group, has sent supplies to many countries in Asia including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The emergency supplies included 1.8 million masks, 210,000 test kits, 36,000 protective suits, plus ventilators and thermometers, according to a statement by the group.

China sent its first batch of emergency medical supplies to Maldives on Friday, Beijing's envoy to Male tweeted.

To Malaysia, China sent its second batch of emergency drugs to fight the novel virus.

After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, coronavirus has spread to at least 176 countries and regions.

Nearly 559,000 people have tested positive worldwide, with the death toll above 25,300 and over 127,700 recoveries, according to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

* Md. Kamruzzaman contributed to this report from Dhaka, Deepak Adhikari from Katmandu and Riyaz ul Khaliq from Ankara.

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