AN Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane has landed at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport with Zimbabwe’s share of the materials and equipment to help fight the coronavirus pandemic donated by Chinese business mogul Jack Ma, CEO of e-commerce giants Ali Baba.
On Monday, the airline which is Africa’s most expansive and most profitable disclosed, that it was starting with its neighbours – Eritrea, Djibouti, Egypt and Sudan.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also disclosed on Tuesday that another nine countries were also being served: among them are to South Africa, Burundi, Rwanda, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria and South Sudan.
Of the set Burundi and South Sudan have not recorded any coronavirus cases yet.
“The mission continues with subsequent freighter flights across Africa,” the Airline said in its tweet on Monday.
Even though most countries have closed their airports, exemptions have been made for cargo flights and planes on emergency missions.
Ethiopian flies to most major capitals across Africa.
The consignment was flown in by Ethiopian Airlines from Guanzhuo to Addis Ababa.
According to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the support includes 1.1 million testing kits, 6 million masks & 60,000 protective suits to be distributed throughout Africa.
“Distribution to other countries will begin as of tomorrow,” the PM said Monday.
Most African countries have closed their air entry points but have made room for cargo planes to enter and exit. Ethiopian flies to almost every major African capital being the continent’s most expansive and profitable flight.
“To combat the potential surging for demand for medical supplies and equipment in Africa, Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation will donate to each one of the 54 African nations 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields,” the statement read.
“In addition, we will immediately start working with medical institutions in Africa to provide online training material for COVID-19 clinical treatment,” the statement added.
The supplies was first flown to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa from where PM Abiy has agreed to lead in managing the logistics and disbursement efforts.
“Now it is as if we are all living in the same forest on fire. As members of the global community, it would be irresponsible for us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts or fail to act. We need to take action now!” the statement concluded.
The package: each of 54 African countries gets,
a. 20,000 test kits
b. 100,000 masks
c. 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields.