Roundup: AU receives boost from China in continental anti-COVID-19 response efforts

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-25 01:20:58|Editor: yan
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ADDIS ABABA, March 24 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government on Tuesday donated in excess of 10,000 COVID-19 laboratory testing kits to the African Union (AU) that envisaged strengthening the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) response efforts against COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest donation, which is said to be the second batch of material support from the Chinese government to support the AU's efforts in helping its members countries' COVID-19 fight, mainly involves 10,000 COVID-19 test kits, the 55-member pan African bloc disclosed on Tuesday.

AU Commissioner of Social Affairs, Amira Elfadil, speaking during the handover ceremony of 10,008 COVID-19 lab testing kits commended the Chinese government's support to Africa in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the continent.

"I would like thank, on behalf of the AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia for unwavering assistance to Africa," the AU Social Affairs Commissioner said.

The AU Social Affairs Commissioner, after the donation ceremony, also held discussion with Liu Yuxi, Chinese Ambassador to the AU and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on strengthening the cooperation between the Chinese government and the 55-member pan African bloc on COVID-19 in the African continent, it was noted.

The Chinese Ambassador to the AU and the UNECA, Liu Yuxi, on his part stressed that the Chinese government "will strengthen cooperation with Africa in fighting COVID-19."

Amid the growing Chinese support to African countries' fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the first batch of massive medical supplies donated by China's Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation had on Sunday arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa through an Ethiopian Airlines cargo flight flown all the way from China.

The donated materials include 5.4 million face masks, kits for 1.08 million detection tests, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 sets of protective face shields.

Distribution of the donated supplies has already commenced, with particular emphasis to countries throughout Africa which are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The remaining 600,000 masks are expected to reach Addis Ababa and be distributed to all the targeted 54 African countries over the next few days.

Edward Makaya, South African Ambassador to Ethiopia and AU, told Xinhua after witnessing the arrival of the much-needed supplies that "we thank the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations for this generous contribution to the continent."

The donation from Jack Ma and Alibaba foundations mainly includes 100,000 medical masks, 20,000 test kits and 1,000 protective suits and face shields to each of the 54 nations on the African continent.

The South African envoy, whose country currently serves as chair of the AU, also urged the rest of the world to follow China's "exemplary solidarity" with Africa.

Mohamed Idriss Farah, Ambassador of Djibouti to the AU, who is the Dean of African Diplomatic Corps, and Chair of the AU Peace and Security Council ,also called on African ministries of health "to ensure that these materials are distributed and used where they are mostly needed."

Deputy Director of Africa CDC, Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, in a recent interview with Xinhua, had also stressed that China has already done a very big effort in controlling this outbreak.

"The experience that China has undergone is very important for us, because ours is just starting, while in China it is ending. That experience is very important," the Africa CDC Deputy Director said, as he emphasized that the Chinese government has placed its experience on the table for African countries to be able to see and use in their fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

On Monday evening,Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa told a media briefing that there should be no public gatherings of more than 50 people, among a raft of measures taken to stop the spread of the Coronavirus which claimed the life of a 30-year-old man the same day.

To further strengthen the COVID-19 prevention measures in Botswana, all people coming from the Republic of South Africa through the Martins Drift, Ramatlabama, Pioneer Gate and Tlokweng border posts and Sir Seretse Khama International Airport will be placed under mandatory quarantine for 14 days at facilities that have been identified," said Doreen Motshegwa, the chief public relations officer in Botswana's ministry of health and wellness.