The coronavirus 2019-nCoV which originated from the city of Wuhan, has infected 5,974 people, resulting in 132 deaths, with over 9,200 suspected cases, according to an announcement by China's National Health Commission this morning (Jan 29).
Including Wuhan, many cities in the Hubei province were in a state of lockdown as the Chinese government sought to contain the virus. Hospitals have appealed donations of masks and gowns to cope with the sudden outbreak.
Both MNCs and Chinese companies have stepped in to help the country during the dreadful situation.
China-based H&H, also the parent company of Australia’s supplement firm Swisse, announced that it had donated RMB$2.6m (approx. USD$375k) in cash, Biostime products, and protective gears to Red Cross China.
About RMB$1.3m of the aid consists of protective masks, gowns, and other materials for the frontline medical workers.
The aid would then be distributed to Wuhan and the broader Hubei province, where more than 130 of the company’s employees are situated.
Into its fourth round of donation, Chinese dairy leader, Yili, said it would pump in RMB$100m for use in the prevention and treatment of the new coronavirus.
The firm had earlier on donated 20,000 boxes of milk and chipped in RMB$10m for building one of the two hospitals meant for the crisis and transporting goods to the hospital designated for handling infected patients.
Products from Nestlé’s subsidiary brands, including those from Wyeth Nutrition, Yinlu, Totole, and Hsu Fu Chi, as well as cash, which all total up to RMB$40m will be donated.
Wyeth Nutrition and Nestlé Health Science will also give out free N95 masks for the frontline medical workers.
E-commerce giants are also joining the good cause.
Alibaba said it was setting up a RMB$1bn medical supplies fund, which would be used to buy equipment and medicine for Wuhan. It also will be used to ensure that medical personnel in Wuhan have access to a "hot meal".
On the other hand, JD.com said it had donated one million surgical masks and 60,000 other medical supplies.
The epidemic has been evolving rapidly, with Chinese president Xi Jinping admitting that the country is ‘facing a grave situation’ and said yesterday that the virus was akin to a ‘demon’.
The country is racing against the clock to build two new hospitals in Wuhan to handle the patients which is expected to start operation on Feb 3 and 5.
Infected cases have been reported in other APAC countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Australia, while countries on the other side of the globe – the US and Canada – were not spared either.