As the coronavirus is taking a heavy toll across the globe, there has been increasing expectations that countries stop finger-pointing and spare no effort in coping with this unseen common enemy. Over an important phone call on March 27, the two presidents of China and the United States called for bilateral anti-epidemic cooperation, thus triggered a new round of humanitarian actions involving massive transport of medical materials across the Pacific.
A number of Chinese provinces and cities including Jiangsu and Shanghai as well as companies such as Huawei, Tencent, China Construction and Bank of China, have donated millions of medical items to state and local hospitals in the United States. New York State, the epicenter of the whole nation, has received 370,000 masks, 10,000 gloves, 20,000 protective clothing, and 50,000 goggles. Another 730,000 masks, 11,000 gloves and 1,500 thermometers are on the way. The state has also purchased 100 ventilators with China National Pharmaceutical Group Corp, which will be delivered in two weeks. Fujian province and Heren Charitable Foundation are coordinating a donation with 1 million masks, 10,000 protective clothing, 10,000 goggles and 10,000 shoe covers to the State of Ohio.
On April 2nd, a chartered flight by the Kraft Group, the owner of New England Patriots football team, landed in Boston with around 1 million masks purchased from Shenzhen, China. 300,000 of them planned to be sent to New York. The successful delivery is a joint effort by parties across public and private sectors, led by Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and echoed by Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island. The two governors garnered support from the Chinese government through its Consulate General in New York. Beijing established a green channel and lost no time in approving the chartered flight. Local officials in Guangdong, Massachusetts's sister state in China, offered on-the-spot assistance with customs clearance. These efforts enabled the flight to complete the grab-and-go process within only 2 hours and 40 minutes, setting a new record of the airport's operation. The story of this remarkable delivery is a window into the ongoing bilateral coordination to acquire life-saving equipment needed to battle the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
"Many agree that this should be a time for us to be united, not fighting against each other," said Huang Ping, Consul General of China in New York. "The Chinese people sincerely hope that the United States contains the spread of the epidemic at an early date, so as to reduce the losses inflicted by the disease upon the American people."
Last Sunday, a White House-led airlift of urgently needed medical supplies arrived in New York. The flight from Shanghai, China, was the first of about 20 flights to arrive between now and early April. As the situation is getting more severe in the coming weeks, additional flights will carry similar gear from China, Malaysia and Vietnam back to the United States.