No fewer than 160 Chinese health workers have arrived in Liberia, where they are due to staff a new $41 million Ebola clinic.
The Chinese Ambassador, Zhang Yue, disclosed this to journalists in Monrovia on Sunday.
The clinic is being built by Chinese personnel, and they would equally run it fully.
China, Africa’s biggest trade partner, had come under fire for the level of its response to the Ebola crisis.
However, it said this week it would send 1,000 personnel to help fight an outbreak that has killed over 5,000 people in West Africa.
“Up till now in Liberia, China is the only country which provides not only the construction of an ETU (Ebola treatment unit), but also the running and operation and the staffing of an ETU,” Mr. Zhang said.
The U.S. has pledged more money and personnel than any other nation pitching in to fight the worst Ebola outbreak on record. But its response is based on building clinics and training locals to run them.
Mr. Zhang said the new team in Liberia included a mix of doctors, nurses, technicians and engineers.
“They experienced SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).
“They are very knowledgeable in this area,’’ he said, referring to the contagious illness that was first identified in China in 2002 and killed several hundred people across the world.
On arrival, the Chinese health workers had their temperature taken and were made to wash their hands, a ritual adopted across the region as part of efforts to stem the disease.
Mr. Zhang said the establishment of the clinic in Liberia brought China’s contribution to the anti-Ebola effort in the country to $122 million.
Before China’s pledge to send 1,000 personnel, Cuba was the largest contributor of medical contingents to the crisis.
However, both nations would see their teams work closely alongside the U.S., which is providing much of the infrastructure of the international response.