UNICEF sends six tonnes of masks and other gear to help fight China virus

UNICEF sends six tonnes of masks and other gear to help fight China virus

A little girl wearing a protective mask stands on a street in Shanghai
A little girl wearing a protective mask stands on a street in Shanghai, China on Jan 29, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Aly Song) 

GENEVA: A six-tonne shipment of respiratory masks and protective suits for health care workers landed in China on Wednesday (Jan 29) for distribution in Wuhan, the epicentre of a spreading coronavirus outbreak, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said.

The United States and Japan flew citizens out of the central Chinese city as the death toll rose to 133 and the first case appeared in the Middle East. There have been 5,974 confirmed cases in China.

READ: China battles Wuhan virus spread with masks and disinfectant

READ: Number infected by Wuhan virus rises to nearly 6,000 in China; death toll at 132

UNICEF's shipment, weighing six metric tonnes, was sent from its global supply hub in Copenhagen and landed in Shanghai, the agency said in a statement.

“This coronavirus is spreading at a breakneck speed and it is important to put all the necessary resources into halting it,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director.

"We may not know enough about the virus' impact on children or how many may be affected – but we do know that close monitoring and prevention are key. Time is not on our side.”

UNICEF said it was working with other agencies including the World Health Organization on a coordinated response in China and other affected countries. 

The WHO announced on Tuesday that China had agreed to a team of international experts visiting to help combat the virus but gave no timetable or details.

MORE: Our coverage on the Wuhan virus and its developments

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Source: Reuters/ad

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