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Malaysia has pledged 18 million medical gloves to be sent to Wuhan, China in efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic. As the world’s largest producer and supplier of medical gloves, Malaysia exports approximately 180 billion worldwide.
According to Malaysia’s Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, rubber glove manufacturers in Malaysia have pledged to donate the 18 million pieces to be sent to Wuhan. “The medical gloves, both natural rubber and nitrile, will be sent to China in batches with the first shipment already on its way to Wuhan,” Kok said on January 31. Two Malaysian rubber manufacturing companies, Top Glove and Supermax, are said to have already distributed 2.3 million pieces of gloves to Wuhan.
Malaysia had previously donated more than 20 million rubber gloves to West Africa during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Malaysia
Despite the fear of coronavirus in Malaysia, which now has eight confirmed cases from Chinese visitors, Malaysians are onboard with assisting China in containing the virus, given the countries’ close ties to each other. “While Malaysians are concerned about the spread of the virus to our shores, we are equally sympathetic towards China, especially given that the two countries share deep cultural and business ties which have been built over decades,” added Kok.
Mask donations to Wuhan
Malaysia intends to send face masks, but also food supplies, to the virus epicenter, Wuhan, to assist in the crisis. On January 29, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad announced that the Southeast Asian nation will be donating the items which are currently in high demand in the city of Wuhan.
A Malaysian aid organization, Ops Harapan, is planning to ship at least 10,000 masks to Wuhan in the first phase of relief efforts. The organization will be sending shipments each time it collects a batch of 10,000 masks.
Face masks in China and Hong Kong have sold out fast and supplies have yet to be replenished.
According to a local resident in Hong Kong, after queueing for long hours to purchase the limited supply of face masks, all residents were seen wearing masks while walking on the streets.
“Luckily most locals seem to be very much alert from the virus. While walking on the streets or back to work, everyone is wearing a mask. I personally never seen that before, even back to SARS [sic],” the resident told The Millennial Source.