Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and the richest man in Asia, announced that he will be sending 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks to the United States, as the country prepares for an exponential growth of cases in the coming weeks and months.
Ma will be donating the supplies through the Alibaba Foundation, which has also sent items to Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran, and Spain.
Through a donation of 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks, we join hands with Americans in these difficult times. pic.twitter.com/tGviVhC6Gx
— Jack Ma Foundation (@foundation_ma) March 13, 2020
In a statement to the press, Ma said that it was important for medical professionals to have all of the necessary supplies.
“Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus. We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!” the statement read.
Test shortages and delays in the US have prevented the possibility of containing the virus, as it has now been proven that the illness has been spreading in communities all over the country, without any clear trace to a patient zero from the original epicenter.
“The crisis presents a huge challenge to all humankind in a globalized world. The pandemic we face today can no longer be resolved by any individual country. Rather, we need to combat the virus by working hand-in-hand. At this moment, we can’t beat this virus unless we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our know-how and hard-earned lessons,” Ma said in the statement.
The donation is a massive gesture considering that Jack Ma and many of his companies have a close relationship with the Chinese government, which is currently at odds with the US government, both over trade policies and the coronavirus response. In fact, China, which is one of the major global producers of medical supplies, has threatened to stop shipments to the United States, as US officials continue to blame the Chinese government for their initial handling of the outbreak.
IMAGER CREDIT: UNCTAD