A consignment of over 1.5 million laboratory diagnostic test kits and over 100 tonnes of infection prevention and control commodities arrived in Africa on Monday.
The shipment is a donation from Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma, and his foundation, Alibaba.
Nigeria and the other 53 African countries will each get 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields, Mr Ma tweeted a week ago.
The donation arrived in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and was received by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Ethiopian government.
This relief initiative, led by African Union, and facilitated by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, is part of the actions towards implementation of the Africa joint continental strategy for COVID-19, the Africa CDC said in a statement.
“Ethiopian Airlines will help distribute the equipment, consisting of 20,000 laboratory diagnostic test kits, 100,000 medical masks, and 1000 protective suits and face shields, to each of the Member States,” the statement said.
Chairman of the African Union Peace and Security Council, Mohamed Farah, appealed to ministries in the continent “to ensure that these materials are distributed and used where they are mostly needed.”
Also, on his part, the Director of Africa CDC, John Nkengasong, thanked Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for supporting African countries in the fight against the global outbreak.
“We are facing a humanitarian situation, an economic situation and a security situation in the continent and Africa CDC clearly applauds the initiative of the prime minister and Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations,” Mr Nkengasong noted.
The COVID-19 outbreak has continued to spread rapidly across the world, claiming thousands of lives and making many to be bedridden.
A number of countries in Europe and Asia are already on lockdown to curtail the spread of the virus. Africa has also seen an uptick in its confirmed cases, as figure currently stands at 1,617.
South Africa (402), Egypt (327), Algeria (201) and Morocco (122) are the worst hit on the continent.
As of Monday morning, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed 36 cases, of which 33 are bedridden, two had been discharged and one died.
The economic capital of the country, Lagos, is the worst hit with 25 confirmed cases, trailed by the FCT with 6, Ogun with two, and each of Ekiti, Oyo and Edo with one case.
Health officials have warned citizens to maintain social distancing and isolate themselves if they had recently visited places with a high number of infections while also observing proper hygiene by hand washing and using sanitiser.