China has donated more medical and personal protective equipment (PPE) to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to help it fight the coronavirus pandemic, with the latest donation comprising thermometers, face masks and full protective gear.
The latest consignment was handed over to the SANDF by the Defence Attaché from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 27 November. It comprised of 30 000 masks, 400 suits and 500 thermometers.
Rear Admiral Bravo Mhlana, the Chief of Staff of the Joint Operations Division, received the donation on behalf of the SA National Defence Force. Mhlana thanked the government of the PRC for its generous donation and reiterated the excellent relationship that exists between the PRC and the RSA, the SANDF said.
China has assisted the SANDF with coronavirus relief aid before, and on 3 August delivered a consignment of face masks from China, which were to be utilised by members of the SA National Defence Force and the National Department of Health (NDOH) who had been deployed to assist in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The first consignment of PPE by the Government of the People’s Republic of China was delivered on 26 March 2020 to the SANDF.
Due to the extensive experience in the combating the 2019 coronavirus outbreak and treatment of those afflicted with the virus, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA, the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China) has increased bilateral cooperation between the countries.
On 8 May, a military medical teleconference between the SANDF and the PLA took place in order to promote the capability of COVID-19 prevention and control of the SANDF. The Chinese shared their experiences and suggestions in fighting the virus, such as infection control, respiratory, nephrology, sterilization, critical care and germ and epidemic research.
The SANDF was the first partner in Africa to partake in a military medical cooperation teleconference with the Chinese PLA, demonstrating the increasing comprehensive strategic partnership and special friendship between China and South Africa and the two militaries.