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18 Mar, 2020 18:16

China sending one MILLION masks & gloves to France following shipment to crisis-hit Italy

China sending one MILLION masks & gloves to France following shipment to crisis-hit Italy

China is shipping one million surgical masks and gloves to France as it struggles to contain the coronavirus, with Europe becoming the new focal point of the global pandemic.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed the shipments on Wednesday in an interview with France's BFM TV. The first of two planes has already arrived via Belgium and a second will arrive on Thursday, he said.

China's gesture comes after France sent 17 tonnes of equipment to Beijing when the Covid-19 virus first broke out in Wuhan last December.

France reported 89 new deaths from Covid-19 on Wednesday, updating the total to 264. The number of confirmed cases has also risen to 9,134 – up from 7,730 on Tuesday – health agency director Jerome Salomon said.

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Last week, China also shipped a planeload of medical supplies including respirators and masks to Italy, which has suffered more than any other European country so far, and has seen hospitals overloaded with the rapidly increasing numbers of cases.

Along with the 30 tons of equipment, Beijing also sent nine of its medical staff to Italy to help in its battle against the disease. Italian Red Cross head Francesco Rocca said the country was in “desperate need” of the masks and was grateful for the donation in a moment of “great difficulty.

In addition to the government help, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma sent a shipment of surgical masks and Covid-19 test kits to the US, which has its own shortage of kits. Ma said Monday he would also donate masks and test kits to all countries in Africa.

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Despite its efforts to step up and aid other hard-hit countries, China has faced a barrage of negative media coverage in the West, with Trump administration officials repeatedly referring to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus” and the “Wuhan virus” given the fact that it originated there in December.

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