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Coronavirus: Jack Ma to donate test kits to Africa

Jack Ma, Chinese billionaire and co-founder of Alibaba, says he will donate mask, test kits and protective suits to all African countries to help the continent in its fight against coronavirus. He announced the decision through his foundation yesterday.

The founder of e-commerce conglomerate, is providing the goods through Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation. The two organizations will immediately start working with medical institutions in Africa, Mr Ma said in a statement.

Ma’s foundation will donate at total of 1.1 million testing kits, six million masks, and 60,000 protective suits and face shields. They will also work with local medical institutions on the continent to provide online training material for coronavirus clinical treatments.

“The world cannot afford the unthinkable consequences of a COVID-19 pandemic in Africa,” he said in a statement tweeted Monday. He has also urged all countries to avoid being ‘irresponsible’ and ‘take actions now’ after the centre of the outbreak shifted from the Chinese province of Hubei to Europe.

The items will first be delivered to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will oversee the distribution of the supplies to other African countries the philanthropist said.

Last Friday the billionaire founder of Alibaba said he would donate 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and one million face masks to the United States. He has also shared his plans to give to Europe as well as Iran.

“Now it is as if we were all living in the same forest on fire. As members of the global community, it will be irresponsible of us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts, or fail to act. We need to take action now,” Ma said.

African countries shave been the last to get hit by the virus and the question is, can it truly handle its cases? Does African have enough equipment and expertise to deal with the rise in the attacks?

So far, the worst hit country is Egypt with 166 victims.

On Sunday, Ma tweeted an image of the ‘first shipment’ of face masks and test kits, saying it was taking off from Shanghai.

“Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are the most effective in preventing the spread of the virus,” Ma said. “We can’t beat this virus unless we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our know-how and hard-earned lessons.”