Eritrea the First African Country to Reject Chinese Coronavirus Aid
By Simon MarksApril 3, 2020 03:41 PM
FILE – Airport staff unload cargo sent by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and his Alibaba Group after it arrives at Juba International Airport, in Juba, South Sudan, March 24, 2020. African health officials say no supplies have reached Eritrea.
Much publicized COVID-19 supplies donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and his Alibaba Group never made it to Eritrea, despite Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s saying the supplies had been delivered to the entire continent.
The reasons why the goods did not reach Eritrea are unclear, but rights activists accuse the government of ignoring the needs of its people.
Two officials at the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which helped organize delivery of the coronavirus masks and test kits to various African countries, confirmed to VOA that no supplies reached Eritrea.
A senior Africa CDC official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said the plane carrying the supplies was supposed to fly from Sudan’s capital to Asmara on March 23, but Eritrean officials never authorized the plane to land.
Forced to bypass Eritrea, the pilots instead flew to Djibouti and Kenya before returning to their starting point, Addis Ababa, he said.
James Ayodele, a spokesperson for the Africa CDC, said “the issue is still being discussed at a diplomatic level.”
A number of European governments have rejected Chinese-made equipment
A number of European governments have rejected Chinese-made equipment designed to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Thousands of testing kits and medical masks are below standard or defective, according to authorities in Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands.
Europe has reported hundreds of thousands of cases of coronavirus.
More than 10,000 people have died in Italy since the outbreak began.
The virus was first detected in China at the end of 2019. The government implemented strict lockdown measures to bring it under control.
What’s wrong with the equipment?
On Saturday, the Dutch health ministry announced it had recalled 600,000 face masks. The equipment had arrived from a Chinese manufacturer on 21 March, and had already been distributed to front-line medical teams.
Dutch officials said that the masks did not fit and that their filters did not work as intended, even though they had a quality certificate,