Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has donated medical supplies to Cameroon as part of efforts to help Africa combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, Cameroon Radio Television said Thursday.
The supplies arrived today at Cameroon’s Yaounde Nsimalen Airport, it said.
Earlier this month, the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation — both owned by Ma — announced they would donate 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical-use protective suits and face shields to all 54 African nations.
They said in a statement that the move was taken to “combat the potential surging demand for medical supplies and equipment in Africa.”
“We cannot ignore the potential risk to Africa and assume this continent of 1.3 billion people will blissfully escape the crisis. The world cannot afford the unthinkable consequences of a COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.
“Now it is as if we were all living in the same forest on fire. As members of the global community, it would be irresponsible of us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts or fail to act. We need to take action now!” it added.
Ma is regarded as China’s richest man, with a net worth of $38 billion, according to the Business Insider website.
The death toll in Africa from COVID-19 had risen to 72 as of early Thursday, according to the African Center for Diseases Prevention and Control (CDC).
After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December, the virus has spread to at least 175 countries and regions, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
More than 526,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 23,700 and more than 122,000 recoveries.
Despite the rising number of cases, most people who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.
*Felix Tih contributed to this story from Ankara