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Ethiopian plane delivers medical supplies to Somalia amid coronavirus scare

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia received a consignment of medical supplies on Tuesday, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheire announced, almost a week after a donation by billionaire philanthropist Jack Ma.

Africa is struggling to cope with the sudden outbreak of Coronavirus, which threatens to shut down the young economies, even as world superpowers also confront a possible recession.

The shipment was dispatched by Ethiopian Airlines under the strict supervision of Ethiopian PM Ahmed Abiy, who had been entrusted by the giant Alibaba Group, to distribute the donations throughout Africa.

And Somalia received the consignment in the second shipment of Tuesday from Addis Ababa, which will be now delivered in various health centers across the war-torn nation.

While confirming dispatched to Somalia and Tanzania, Abiy said: "Together and with the right measures we can and we will reverse the adverse effects of this virus on our communities".

Already, only one COVID-19 positive case has been detected in Somalia. Learning has been paralyzed while flights have been suspended as a measure to tackle the pandemic, which had caused negative economic ripples.

By Tuesday, 330,000 positive cases had been recorded worldwide. Of the cases, 16,000 people have already died while 94,000 recoveries have been registered, the World Health Organization [WHO] said.

The billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma hailed Mr. Ahmed for "helping us distribute supplies throughout Africa. It’s a tough job during such a difficult time. Together, we can do this" on his Twitter account.

Khaire, who is in charge of supervision of the government, paid tributes to Mr. Jack Ma and the global business giant Alibaba for delivering the consignment of protective gear adding that "the pandemic will be best contained through such concerted efforts across the globe".

To rescue Africa from contracting the deadly virus, the Chinese entrepreneur donated 1.1 million testing kits 6 million masks and 60,000 protective suits to be distributed throughout Africa, Ahmed said.

As of Tuesday, there were a total of 650 Coronavirus positive cases around Africa. South Africa, Egypt, and Algeria are the worst hit, recording 60 percent of the total Africa cases.

The donations, Mr. Ma said, will see each of the 54 African countries receiving 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 medical use protective gears and face shields.

So scary has been the pandemic that the Ethiopian PM has crafted a proposal to G20 summit requesting for $150 million for Africa which would help in mitigation of COVID-19

On their part, African finance ministers also requested $100 million from the UN, a proposal that is being reviewed before the disease makes further inroads due to vulnerability in the continent.

The shipment would now help Somalia to do further tests and possibly unlock possible undetected cases, in line with WHO standards. Only Burundi is yet to record a single COVID-19 case in East Africa.


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