The first batch of medical equipment donated by a Chinese billionaire to help fight coronavirus in Africa arrived in Ethiopia on Sunday.
Jack Ma, the co-founder of the online store Alibaba, is sending millions of test kits, surgical masks and protective clothing to the continent, where now more than 1,000 cases have been confirmed by the Centre for Disease Control.
The number of known infections in Africa lags behind most other continents, but is increasing rapidly. Some countries have reported a jump in infections, including Ethiopia, Tanzania and Nigeria.
Rwanda has imposed some of the strictest measures in sub-Saharan Africa, including the closure of all borders and a ban on people travelling inside the country.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed confirmed the arrival of the first consignment in the capital, Addis Ababa, which included 1.1 million testing kits, 6 million face masks and 60,000 protective suits.
The supplies will be distributed throughout from Monday, he said in a tweet:
There are concerns that the continent’s weak health systems may be unable to cope with a large outbreak, and that governments lack financial and logistical resources to deal with the virus.