China's Richest Man to Donate 1.8 Million Facemasks, 100,000 Coronavirus Test Kits to Euro States

Published March 12th, 2020 - 10:55 GMT
 In this file photo taken on October 15, 2019 Jack Ma, co-founder and former executive chair of Alibaba Group, speaks during the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore. The global slump in equities because of the coronavirus has lost India's Mukesh Ambani his crown as Asia's richest person to Jack Ma of China, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. All told, the world's 500 richest people lost $238.5 billion on March 9, 2020, according to Bloomberg, the biggest daily plunge since the index began
In this file photo taken on October 15, 2019 Jack Ma, co-founder and former executive chair of Alibaba Group, speaks during the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore. The global slump in equities because of the coronavirus has lost India's Mukesh Ambani his crown as Asia's richest person to Jack Ma of China, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. All told, the world's 500 richest people lost $238.5 billion on March 9, 2020, according to Bloomberg, the biggest daily plunge since the index began tracking them in October 2016. Roslan RAHMAN / AFP
Highlights
Earlier this month, Mr Ma already donated 1million masks to Japan and South Korea respectively, according to Jack Ma Charity Foundation.

China's richest man will donate 1.8million face masks and 100,000 coronavirus test kits to Europe to help its countries fight the outbreak, which has killed at least 4,380 across the world.  

Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba, announced the generous aid on Wednesday through his foundation as well as his account on Twitter-like Weibo. 

The supplies are set to be shared between the European nations that have been hit by the disease the hardest, including Italy and Spain, according to the 55-year-old tycoon. 

The masks and test kits would be flown to Liege Airport in Belgium before being distributed to various countries, Mr Ma said. 

'Fortunately, although cross-country transport for counter-epidemic goods has been difficult, we learned that the eWTP (The Electronic World Trade Platform) hub in Europe's Liege Airport is operating well and can act as a lifeline to assist us to deliver our continuous aids to Europe to those in need,' he wrote. 

'Although we live thousands of miles apart, we will race against the clock in hopes of providing emergency help to [the countries in need] and overcoming difficulties together,' he added. 

Earlier this month, Mr Ma already donated 1million masks to Japan and South Korea respectively, according to Jack Ma Charity Foundation.

The two neighbouring countries of China are also being ravaged by the contagion.  

The news comes after Mr Ma in January donated 100million yuan (£11million, $14.4million) to help scientists develop the vaccine for the coronavirus. 

Forty per cent of the endowment fund, or 40 million yuan (£4.4 million, $5.8 million), is due to be evenly split between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, whose experts are striving to create the inoculation.

The rest of the grant will support staff from research and scientific establishments in China and around the world in the control and prevention efforts of the coronavirus. 

Self-made Mr Ma is worth $41.2billion (£32.4billion) and was the wealthiest man in China in 2019, according to Forbes.

His foundation said it would also offer all necessary AI computing power to research teams free of charge to help the country tackle the fast-spreading disease.

'Jack Ma Foundation will exhaust our abilities to provide more help to the development and growth of medical science,' the tycoon's charity said through its official account on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.

The news came days after Alibaba had already earmarked one billion yuan (£110million, $144million) for purchasing medical supplies for hospitals in Wuhan and Hubei Province, the group said in a statement.

Chinese tycoons are flocking to help the Hubei government fight the lethal virus. 

So far, more than 150 companies have given away a total of 4.5 billion yuan (£499million, $649million) to overcome the national health crisis, according to Chinese Entrepreneurs Magazine. 

These firms include Pony Ma's Tencent (£33million, $43million), Robin Li's Baidu (£33million, $43million), Xu Jiayin's Evergrande Group (£22million, $28million) and Ren Zhengfei's Huawei (£3.3million, $4.3million).

Li Lanjuan, an expert from China's National Health Commission, told state media China News that experts were 'very close' to creating the coronavirus vaccine, but the whole process 'will take time'.

She estimated that it would one month for scientists to lay their hands on the first vaccine sample, another two weeks for specialists to inspect the sample and at least six weeks more for the government to approve the vaccine.

A Russian diplomatic mission in China said in January that Russia and China were working to develop a coronavirus vaccine and that Beijing had handed over the genome of the virus to Moscow.

'Russian and Chinese experts have begun developing a vaccine,' the Russian consulate in Guangzhou city said in a statement.

It was not clear if Russian and Chinese scientists were working together or separately. The consulate in Guangzhou could not be reached for comment.

Johnson & Johnson also became one of the drugmakers to begin work on developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Johnson & Johnson said its vaccine program would utilise the same technologies used to make its experimental Ebola vaccine, which is currently being administered in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Three separate research teams backed by a global coalition set up to fight epidemic diseases said they will start work on developing potential vaccines against the new coronavirus.

The research will be conducted by drug developers Moderna, Inovio Pharma, and a team at the University of Queensland, Australia. 
 

The World Health Organization has today finally declared the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic after the number of patients struck down by the killer infection across the world surpassed 112,000 and the death toll neared 4,500. 

The boss of the UN agency said it was 'deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity', with outbreaks continuing to spiral out of control in Italy and Iran.

More than 121,000 people globally have now been infected with the coronavirus, which can cause pneumonia and shut down crucial internal organs. The crisis in China, where the outbreak began, has slowed dramatically.

Europe is now the centre of the crisis, with the number of cases soaring every day in Italy – where all 60million residents have been affected by an unprecedented lockdown. Outbreaks are also growing in Spain, France, Germany and the UK.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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