Taiwan earlier this week donated 100,000 surgical face masks to Manaus, a city in Brazil that has been hit hard by the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
To help the city's residents fight the disease, Chang Tsung-che (張崇哲), Taiwan's representative to Brazil, on Tuesday donated the face masks to the city on behalf of the Taiwanese government in a virtual meeting with Marcelo Magaldi, director of Manaus's health department. The donation was conducted under the "Taiwan Can Help" program to provide aid to counties in need of assistance as they combat the virus' rampant spread.
Magaldi expressed gratitude on behalf of Mayor Arthur Virgilio Neto and the people in the city to Taiwan's government for extending a helping hand to Brazil in its time of need.
Brazil has the second-highest number of cases, behind the United States, reporting more than 77,500 deaths amid more than 2 million confirmed cases, as of Saturday, according to the Johns Hopkins University's Coronvirus Resource Center. Manaus' mayor has also been infected with COVID-19 and is currently hospitalized for treatment.
Magaldi said the Manaus health department will distribute the face masks donated by Taiwan to public hospitals in the city so that they can provide the supply to medical personnel on the frontline of the fight against the virus. He said it was very important for these medical staffers to be well protected by wearing face masks when they are treating COVID-19 patients.
Chang told Magaldi that Taiwan, which has also recorded COVID-19 infections albeit only a small number, is willing to provide assistance to other countries to contain the virus' spread. He added that the Taiwanese government was grateful to the Manaus city government for allowing Taiwan to provide this particular humanitarian aid under the "Taiwan Can Help program."
Taiwan has recorded 454 COVID-19 cases since the outbreak started in December. Of the 454 cases in Taiwan, 363 have been classified as imported, 55 as locally acquired, and 36 as a cluster infection on board a naval ship, an outbreak that was later confirmed to have originated in Taiwan.