BRUSSELS: The EU Commission chief said on Wednesday that China will send Europe 50,000 coronavirus testing kits and two million surgical masks, as the continent battles to contain the pandemic.
In a phone conversation, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China was also ready to provide 200,000 respirator masks for more serious cases, Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement.
“We are ramping up our production, we are converting our production lines, but this needs several weeks, and in the meantime we are grateful for the support from China,” she said.
“China has not forgotten that in January, when China was the centre of the virus outbreak, the EU helped,” she underlined.
Separately, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has donated more than a million masks to EU members France and Spain, both hard hit by the virus.
The donation comes a day after the European Union sealed its borders, barring travellers from outside the bloc from arriving for 30 days to try to slow the rapid spread of the virus.
Europe has now recorded 3,437 deaths – including 2,503 in Italy – leapfrogging Asia’s 3,384 fatalities, most in China.