The first batch of aid provided by China amid the COVID-19 pandemic has arrived in Maldives.
The first batch of Chinese aid includes 10,080 medical protective masks, 30,000 surgical masks, 10,000 single-use gloves, 500 stethoscopes, 200 goggles and 500 protective suits. The aid was officially handed over to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives Abdulla Shahid by Ambassador of China to Maldives Zhang Lizhong.
Speaking at the function held to officially handover the aid, Foreign Minister Shahid said the materials supplied by China are the materials listed as high-priority during the discussions held between the two countries. He also revealed China will be active in spreading public awareness on COVID-19 through the online knowledge centre.
The foreign minister further stated Maldives will maintain close relations with the international community, noting the country is dependent on aid provided by other countries, especially during a crisis situation. He said the foreign ministry has ensured all essential items will be supplied to Maldives without interruption amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the function, Ambassador Zhang Lizhong noted the delay in supplying aid was caused by the difficulties in transport, due to the suspension of international flights. Noting some of the items included in the list, such as ventilators, are currently in shortage in China as well, the ambassador assured the items will be supplied after manufacturing them. He added Chinese companies working in Maldives have also decided to supply aid to Maldives.
While the Chinese government supplied the first batch of aid to Maldives, the Chinese-based Alibaba Group has also assured to provide assistance to Maldives. Co-founder of Ali Baba Group Jack Ma had earlier announced the decision to provide 1.8 million masks, 210,000 test kits, 36,000 protective suits, along with ventilators and thermometers to 10 countries including Maldives.