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China lends hand to Europe in fight against COVID-19

Updated: Mar 13,2020 09:33 AM    Xinhua

ZAGREB — As China sees the light at the end of the tunnel in its fight against COVID-19, it's lending a hand to European countries, a number of which had come to China's assistance at the early stage of the outbreak.

A team of nine Chinese health experts left Shanghai for Rome on March 12 on a chartered flight, two days after the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy topped 10,000. Along with the experts were 31 tons of intensive care and medical protective equipment.

Chinese NGOs are also joining the global fight against COVID-19. The Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation, which were actively purchasing medical supplies for China at the beginning of the outbreak, are now busy transporting necessities to other affected countries.

On March 11, Ma, founder of the e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba, said on Chinese social media that the two foundations will donate a further 1.8 million masks and 100,000 testing reagents to Italy, Spain and other European countries that have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases.

"We are lucky that our eWTP smart logistics hub at Liege Airport in Belgium still operates well in this difficult time. More medical supplies can get to where people need them the most through this lifeline," Ma said.

Chinese firms also joined the ranks, with Xiaomi, a high-tech company, being thrust into the spotlight after its cargo boxes, quoting a watchword of ancient Roman philosopher Seneca, went viral on social media.

"We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden," it read, touching the hearts of many Italians.

In parallel with non-governmental donations, the Chinese government also expressed its willingness to help Italy, the worst-hit country outside China, in its fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a phone conversation with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that even though China still needs large amounts of medical supplies and despite the difficulties it still faces, it stands ready to provide Italy with medical supplies and accelerate the export of equipment to meet Italy's urgent needs.

In addition to medical supplies, China is also sharing its experiences of grappling with COVID-19.

Renowned Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan said on March 12 that if most countries act like China, they could bring the global COVID-19 pandemic under control by June.

Last week, Zhong shared COVID-19 management experiences with Anita Simonds, president-elect of European Respiratory Society, via online conference. Experts from Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China, also have shared relevant experiences with doctors from Niguarda Hospital in Milan.

Chinese health authorities said on March 12 that the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country is over, hours after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the epidemic a pandemic.

According to the WHO, over 110 countries and regions had reported 118,326 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 11, including 37,371 cases outside China.

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