South Africa received medical supplies from China to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Monday a Boeing 777 aircraft, which flew more than 24 hours from Guangzhou, China, arrived at OR Tambo International Airport with a consignment of medical supplies and equipment donated by China.
The cargo is going through accelerated clearance with the assistance of the SA Revenue Service.
Items donated include 11 000 N95 masks, 50 000 surgical masks, 3 000 sets of protective suits, 500 portable infrared thermometers, 3 000 goggles, 11 000 pairs of surgical gloves and 11 000 pairs of medical shoe covers.
Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize, his Deputy Dr Joe Phaahla and International Relations and Co-operation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, received the consignment from Chargé d’affaires Li Nan at the airport.
Welcoming the donation, the Health Minister said the medical equipment will go a long way to protect healthcare workers in the frontline of the fight against Coronavirus.
“We are sensitive about protection of our professionals, so this donation is going to contribute significantly to ensuring we are able to protect our staff against infection.
“This indicates a contribution of a kind of commodity highly needed by the department, particularly as we deal with COVID-19.
“We want to express our gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for continued support and assistance,” said Mkhize.
Once cleared, the Health Department will distribute the medical equipment nationally.
The donation comes as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 2 415, as of Tuesday with 87 022 tests conducted.
“China exhibited it is only together we can stop this virus,” said Pandor.
Another batch of medical supplies for donation is being assembled in Shanghai, for collection by a chartered South African aircraft. This batch is set to arrive in South Africa later this week.
China’s Ambassador to South Africa, Li, said the donation of medical supplies demonstrated brotherhood between the countries.
“This batch of medical supplies arrived in South Africa five days after President Xi Jinping’s telephone call with President Cyril Ramaphosa, which represents an important step to implement the consensus reached by our Heads of State.
“It fully demonstrates the comprehensive strategic partnership and the special brotherhood between China and South Africa,” said Li.