Coronavirus: hundreds of ventilators arrive in Belgium

Coronavirus: hundreds of ventilators arrive in Belgium
Cargo of donations is unloaded. Credit: Jack Ma/Twitter

A donation of hundreds of ventilators and protective medical gear bound for hospitals around Europe arrived at the airport of Liège on Tuesday.

The donation including 800 ventilators and 300,000 mouth masks and 300,000 protective hospital gowns is one of several made by the foundations of Chinese businessman Jack Ma, owner of the e-commerce giant Alibaba.

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"Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation will donate additional urgent equipment (...) to hospitals in Europe," Ma tweeted on Monday.

The donation comes as European countries struggle to procure enough protective medical gear for hospital staff and for life-saving ventilators for coronavirus patients in the most serious conditions.

In Brussels, one of the best-equipped hospitals for treating infectious diseases, Hôpital Saint-Pierre, launched a public appeal for donations to obtain the vital devices.

Since joining Twitter earlier in March, Ma has announced several other donations made by his foundations to countries in Asia, Africa as well as the United States and European countries like Belgium, to which Alibaba already donated half a million mouth masks.

The Alibaba group's logistics branch said that the number of cargo flights into Liège —where the retail giant's plans to expand its European logistics hub is currently facing local opposition—is being increased to five per week.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

Correction: This article was updated to remove an incorrectly attributed tweet.

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