Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma’s foundation to donate coronavirus testing kits, masks to U.S.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder Jack Ma said Friday that two of his affiliated foundations would be donating supplies to the U.S. to help combat outbreak of COVID-19, the disease brought on by the novel coronavirus.
The Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba
Foundation have “sourced and readied” to ship 500,000 test kits and 1 million masks, according to a Twitter post.
“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,” Ma said in his Twitter statement. He said that humans won’t be able to resolve the crisis “unless we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our-know how and hard-earned lessons.”
The World Health Organization officially classified COVID-19 as a pandemic earlier this week, and President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday stemming from the outbreak.
Though COVID-19 is believed to have originated in China, masks have been in short supply in the U.S. since before the first confirmed cases popped up in the U.S. Health officials have cautioned against the use of masks by healthy citizens who aren’t medical professionals, arguing that masks alone aren’t enough to prevent individuals from contracting COVID-19 and that usage by regular citizens prevents health workers from having adequate supply.
Concerns have also emerged about the rate of testing in the U.S. due to limited availability. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have tested 3,814 people thus far, while other U.S. public health labs have tested 6,895. Countries including South Korea have conducted far more testing.
Ma stepped down as Alibaba’s executive chairman last year after helping to build the company into a global e-commerce powerhouse.