Chinese billionaire Jack Ma announced that his foundations "have sourced and readied for shipment 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks to be donated to the United States" amid the spread of the coronavirus, in an effort to "help Americans fight against the pandemic."
What are the details?Ma, who co-founded international trade site Alibaba, issued a statement Thursday saying that through a collaboration between his private foundation and his company's Alibaba Foundation, the organizations have already donated materials to Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran and Spain during the international fight against COVID-19.
The novel coronavirus sweeping the globe originated in China, Ma's homeland. The billionaire wrote, "Drawing from my own country's experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus. We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!"
"This crisis presents a huge challenge to all human kind in a globalized world," Ma continued. "The pandemic we face today can no longer be resolved by any individual country. Rather, we need to combat the virus by working hand-in-hand. At this moment, we can't beat this virus unless we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our know-how and hard-earned lessons."
He added, "United we stand, divided we fall!"
Reuters reported that "U.S. testing of coronavirus was hampered by flawed kits distributed by the federal government in February, which gave some false results." The federal government has since ramped up efforts to make testing more widely available, as the number confirmed cases of the virus continue to rise.
On Friday, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, promising to "unleash the full power of the federal government" and institute a number of measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, including more access to testing.
COVID-19 is currently affecting 137 countries, with nearly 70,000 active cases. Globally, more than 76,000 people have already recovered from the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, late last year. More than 5,400 people worldwide have died from the virus.
In the United States, there are more than 2,200 COVID-19 cases as of this writing, and 48 people have lost their lives to the new coronavirus since it hit our shores.