A batch of US medical supplies, including 2 million masks, will be shipped to Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, late Thursday, the US-China Business Council announced on Thursday.
The much-needed supplies are organized by USCBC, the National Committee on US-China Relations and the George H. W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations.
FedEx has offered to donate air transportation of these relief supplies to China, Jacob Parker, Senior Vice-President of the USCBC, said at a news conference Thursday morning in Washington.
Masks are difficult to acquire because of unprecedented demand, but a reliable supply was identified by the Bush China Foundation through its newly established and rapidly growing US-China Coronavirus Action Network, "US-China CAN," and representatives of the business organizations swiftly arranged for purchase and transport, according to a statement from the USCBC.
Parker said the masks were produced in facilities in Mexico and have been shipped to the US before they are scheduled to fly to China late Thursday.
Most of the donated goods on the flight will be rushed to Wuhan hospitals with support from Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and China Charity Federation, he said.
As Chinese health authorities changed their threshold for diagnosis, Hubei, the hard-hit Central China province, reported 14,840 new coronavirus cases and 242 new deaths by midnight Wednesday, bringing the total fatalities in the province to 1,310, the provincial health commission said on Thursday.
Many members of the USCBC, which represents about 200 American companies that do business with China, have donated anti-viral medicines and equipment and other materials to various institutions in China, according to Craig Allen, president of the organization.