Test kits arrive as China spreads support globally

26Mar 2020
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Test kits arrive as China spreads support globally

​​​​​​​TEST kits donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma have arrived in Tanzania as messages of gratitude from around the world pour in for China at a time when Europe and America are devastated by the coronavirus.

A consignment of masks, testing kits and protective suits arrived at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) late Tuesday from China in support of efforts to combat the disease, thanks to the chairman of the Alibaba Group.

The Chinese embassy said in a statement posted on twitter that an Ethiopian Airlines plane carrying 100,000 masks, 20,000 testing kits and 1,000 protective suits donated by @Jackma arrived at Dar es Salaam.

“The supplies represent the Chinese traditional spirit of benevolence. China will provide more in support TZ fight the coronavirus,” it said.

Other African countries that have received similar support from the Chinese philanthropist include Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda. Apart from these direct deliveries, another consignment has been handed at the headquarters of the African Union for distribution to other AU member states, it said.

But Africa is not the only beneficiary of support from China or Chinese nationals. After managing to slow down the spread of the virus, the former epicenter has embarked on supporting other countries and regions including Europe which is now the new epicenter.

Last week, China sent 2.2 million masks and 50,000 testing kits to the European Union to cope with the spread of coronavirus, reciprocating similar assistance Europe provided Beijing when it was at the centre of the pandemic.

"China has not forgotten that in January when China was the centre of the virus outbreak the European Union helped," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message on Twitter, when she received the support.

China has also helped hard-hit Spain with medical equipment, and assistance is also expected soon to arrive in France.

A planeload of medical supplies, including masks and respirators, arrived in Italy from China last week to help it deal with its growing coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus outbreak began in China late last year but has since swept the globe. Italy is now the worst-affected nation followed by Spain, with more than 5000 dead and with thousands of confirmed new cases in Europe since the contagion came to light in the third week of February.

“In this moment of great stress, of great difficulty, we are relieved to have this arrival of supplies. It is true that it will help only temporarily but it is still important,” said the head of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca.