Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Pretoria: South Africa has received medical supplies from China to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

At 7pm on Monday, 13 April, a Boeing 777 aircraft, which flew more than 24 hours from Guangzhou, China, arrived at OR Tambo International Airport with a consignment of medical supplies and equipment donated by China.

The cargo is currently going through accelerated clearance, with the assistance of the South African Revenue Service.

Items donated include 11 000 N95 masks, 50 000 surgical masks, 3 000 sets of protective suits, 500 portable infrared thermometers, 3 000 goggles, 11 000 pairs of surgical gloves and 11 000 pairs of medical shoe covers.

The Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, together with his Deputy Dr Joe Phaahla and International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, received the consignment from Chargé d’affaires Li Nan at OR Tambo International Airport.

Welcoming the donation at a briefing on Tuesday, the Health Minister said the medical equipment will go a long way to protect healthcare workers at the frontline of the country’s fight against Coronavirus.

“We are sensitive about the protection of our professionals, so this donation is going to contribute quite significantly to ensuring that we are able to get our staff protected against infection.

“This for us indicates a contribution to a kind of commodity that is highly needed inside the department, particularly as we deal with the issue of COVID-19.

“We want to express our gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for their continued support and assistance that they have given us,” said Mkhize.

Upon clearance, the Health Department will distribute the medical equipment across the country.

The donation comes as the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 2 415, as of Tuesday with 87 022 tests conducted to date.

“Truly, China has exhibited that it is only together that we can stop this virus,” said Pandor.

Another batch of medical supplies for donation is being assembled in Shanghai, China, for collection by chartered South African aircraft. This next batch of donations is set to arrive in South Africa during the course of this week.

China’s Ambassador to South Africa, Li, said the donation of medical supplies demonstrates brotherhood between the two countries.

“This batch of medical supplies arrived in South Africa just five days after President Xi Jinping’s telephone call with President Cyril Ramaphosa, which represents an important concrete step to implement the consensus reached by our two Heads of State.

“It fully demonstrates the comprehensive strategic partnership and the special brotherhood that exists between China and South Africa.” said Li.