Cuba to distribute donation from Chinese alumni to combat COVID-19

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HAVANA, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Medical supplies donated by Chinese alumni to Cuba to combat the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide will start to be distributed on Monday, according to the coordinator of the initiative.

Some 58,750 face masks and protective suits donated by Chinese alumni reached the Caribbean island on Tuesday.

Chen Ke, coordinator of the initiative, told Xinhua via the internet that close to 300 people made contributions amid efforts to contain the spread of the virus in the Caribbean nation.

"We are very grateful to the Cuban people for their support during the time we studied on the island. We share common values like solidarity and fraternity," he said.

From 2006 to 2016, nearly 3,800 students from 12 Chinese provinces and regions studied Spanish Language, Medicine and Tourism at Cuban universities as part of a training program sponsored by the two countries.

Mabel Aguero, who worked as a professor of Chinese students between 2009 and 2011 at the University of Havana, said this donation has a symbolic and spiritual meaning for the Cuban people.

"International students from China were no longer seen as foreigners, but as our own family members instead," she said.

Some 9,660 plastic covers for hospital beds, 200,000 face masks, 65,000 surgical gloves, 1,470 blankets, 976 batteries for thermometers and 602 thermometers donated by the Chinese entrepreneurial sector also arrived at the island on Tuesday.

According to the Cuban Embassy in Beijing, this donation involved nearly 40 Chinese companies.

The Chinese government and companies have been supporting Cuba's efforts to tackle the epidemic since the first confirmed cases were reported on the island in March.

Rolando Rederos, director general at the Cuban medical supplies distributing company ENSUME, said the vast majority of donations the country received for the moment came from China, which is a clear proof of the longstanding brotherhood between the two nations.

"China has always stood by Cuba. We very much appreciate Chinese people's aid at a time when there is a high demand for medical supplies globally," he said.

Earlier in April, some 500 infrared thermometers, 2,000 sets of protective clothing, goggles and shoe covers, 2,000 N95 face masks and 10,000 surgical masks donated by the Chinese government arrived in Cuba.

At the same time, some 10,000 protective suits and 100,000 face masks donated by China's Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co. reached the country.

So far, Cuba has reported 64 deaths from the coronavirus as confirmed cases on Thursday climbed to 1,537. Enditem

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