Coronavirus: Alibaba founder gives African nations 6M medical supply items

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Africa has received a much-needed coronavirus care package from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.

A cargo flight containing more than 6 million medical items arrived Sunday in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The supplies from Ma, the founder of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, will be distributed to African countries in need of supplies to battle the spreading COVID-19 pandemic.

An Ethiopian Airlines cargo flight from Guangzhou, China arrived with 5.4 million face masks, 1.08 million testing kits, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 protective face shields, according to Ethiopian officials and the Jack Ma Foundation.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week pledged to distribute the supplies to other countries in Africa. Ma has sent similar shipments of medical supplies to countries in Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America.

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The virus has been slow to reach Africa but has now spread to at least 42 of the continent’s 54 countries, with more than 1,100 cases confirmed. In response many African countries are imposing restrictions.

Rwanda and Tunisia have announced lockdowns, ordering people to stay at home except for essential reasons.

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Kenya has banned public gatherings but has permitted normal church services to continue as long as hand sanitizing or washing facilities are provided to worshipers.

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