The first shipment of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s donation of 1 million masks and 500,000 coronavirus test kits to the United States arrived in the US on Monday morning.
The supplies, which will be distributed by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), were purchased in China since its factories have gradually resumed production. The shipment of a second batch will depend on availability, said a spokesman at the Jack Ma Foundation.
The United States is facing a shortage of kits for diagnosing the deadly contagion, which has led to widespread criticism of the federal government for its slowness in preparedness and response. Public health officials have rebuked US President Donald Trump for playing down the seriousness of the rapidly spreading illness.
The gift by Ma, who stepped down as the Chinese e-commerce giant’s chairman last year, is the first by Chinese entrepreneurs to the United States amid the finger-pointing between officials and politicians from the two powers.
His foundation has also donated medical supplies to Europe, Japan, South Korea, Iran and 54 African countries, and it has also pledged US$14 million to help develop a coronavirus vaccine.