Eritrea Becomes the First African Country to Reject Chinese Coronavirus Aid
LATEST: 29 People have tested positive in Eritrea so far.
04 Apr 2020 – (EP) COVID-19 supplies donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and his Alibaba Group never made it to Eritrea, despite Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s saying the supplies had been delivered to the entire continent (pictured), according to Voice of America (VOA).
The reasons why the goods did not reach Eritrea are unclear, but rights activists accuse the government of ignoring the needs of its people.
Two officials at the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which helped organize the delivery of the coronavirus masks and test kits to various African countries, confirmed to VOA that no supplies reached Eritrea.
A senior Africa CDC official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said the plane carrying the supplies was supposed to fly from Sudan’s capital to Asmara on March 23, but Eritrean officials never authorized the plane to land.
Forced to bypass Eritrea, the pilots instead flew to Djibouti and Kenya before returning to their starting point, Addis Ababa, he said.
James Ayodele, a spokesperson for the Africa CDC, said “the issue is still being discussed at a diplomatic level.”
Asked to comment on the matter, Billene Seyoum, a spokesperson for Ahmed, said only that talks were ongoing to resolve the issue. The Alibaba Foundation declined to comment.
The medical equipment from Jack Ma, China’s richest man, was shipped to each African country for free on Ethiopian flights to help in the fight against (COVID-19).
The pledge would see each of the 54 African nations get 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields.
Several countries in the EU have rejected Chinese-made coronavirus testing kits and protective equipment as substandard, raising concerns about the quality of supplies.
The Netherlands, Spain and Turkey have all claimed there have been problems with products including masks and tests, as rising confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection in Europe increase dependence on Chinese imports.
The Dutch health ministry said it was forced to recall 600,000 face masks shipped from China on March 21 after they were found to be defective.
The faults, which included the masks failing to fit the mouth and having insufficient filters, were found during inspections after some masks had already been distributed to hospitals, the government said
ERTIRAAN gargaarsa chaayinaan biyyoota afrikaatiif gumaachite fudhachuu diduun afrikaa keessaa biyya jalqabaa murtee sirrii fudhatte taatee argamti.