Chinese nationals living in Kenya last year used seven planes to repatriate Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) to their home country ahead of Nairobi reporting its first coronavirus case, regulatory filings in the US indicate.
China Southern Airlines flight filling its annual report at the US Security Exchange Commission as a foreign issuer revealed it had flown 3,000 boxes from Nairobi to Guangzhou on February 3, 2020, and had done seven such trips.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic was marked by an acute shortage of surgical masks and protective equipment export bans and disruption of flights that severed supply chains.
“Chinese citizens and overseas Chinese living in Kenya collected more than 3,000 boxes of medical supplies.
“When the cargo warehouse was filled, the flight crew and the passengers worked together to move these precious ‘life-saving supplies’ the airline reported in its latest corporate social responsibility report.
“From the outbreak of the pandemic to the temporary suspension of the Nairobi route, there are seven such ‘mask flights’ that have provided valuable supplies for the front line of the fight against the pandemic,” said the carrier.
The airline reports that at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, the situation in the ‘Chinese motherland’ deeply impacted the hearts of overseas compatriots.
“Every mask, glove, and protective suit in the cabin seems to have a heartbeat. They come from Chinese compatriots who are separated by mountains and rivers,” the corporate social responsibility report reads.
Kenya’s first coronavirus case was reported on March 12, of a Kenyan citizen who travelled back to Nairobi returning from the United States via London on March 5, 2020.
By March 24, the country turned to Chinese tycoon Jack Ma who donated medical supplies to the country as part of the efforts to combat the deadly virus.
Jack Ma donated 100,000 face masks and 20,000 testing kits, which arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on March 24.
This was part of Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation aid to support the world’s efforts to fight the pandemic in Africa.
A second donation, from the Chinese government, arrived on April 20 at the JKIA.
It was, however, reported that there were two separate theft reports relating to donated Covid-19 equipment in March.
A local newspaper earlier detailed how Health ministry officials allegedly colluded with local and Chinese business owners to steal the consignment, revealing that some of the suspected culprits managed to escape arrest last week.