The spread of the COVID-19 virus, also known as the coronavirus, has created a mass panic across numerous nations that are struggling to contain the outbreak. The rapid spread has also left many populations without the proper tools, vulnerable. One billionaire is looking to African nations, in particular, to help combat the viral outbreak.
Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder, Jack Ma, has announced that he will be donating supplies to different medical facilities to aid workers in treating patients and stop the spread of the virus.
“The world cannot afford the unthinkable consequences of a COVID-19 pandemic in Africa,” said Ma in a statement tweeted Monday. These items include everything from 6 million masks, 1.1 million test kits, 60,000 protective suits, and face shields to be given free of charge across the continent. He will also be working with local institutions to provide online training materials for clinical treatments through the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation. He also plans to give supplies to Europe and Iran.
Africa has more than 300 confirmed cases of the virus with Egypt being the hardest hit with infected patients. The country is dealing with 110 cases alone. Supplies will be delivered to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad will oversee overall distribution of the items.
“Great appreciation to Jack Ma for partnering with Ethiopia to distribute 10-20k corona testing kits per country,” wrote Ahmed in one of three tweets. “More than 100k masks for each African country, and guideline books developed recently on how to treat patients with the virus.” The two forged a strong business relationship with Ma recently visiting Addis Ababa last November where he met with Ahmed. The two parties were there to discuss the launch of the Electronic World Trade Platform in Ethiopia.
“Now it is as if we were all living in the same forest on fire. As members of the global community,” said Ma. “It will be irresponsible of us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts, or fail to act. We need to take action now.”