Greece gets 500,000 masks from China to combat virus

A man wearing a facemask for protective measures looks on in front of an Air China airbus carrying 500.000 protective masks as part of aid measures from China, to help the country and Europe to fight against the spread of the Covid-19, the novel coronavirus, that just landed at Athens airport, on March 21, 2020.
  • Agence France-Presse
  • March 21, 2020 1:46 PM

Athens, Greece | A plane from China carrying 500,000 masks to help Greece combat the coronavirus outbreak landed at Athens International Airport on Saturday.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias was among those at the airport to receive the load which was donated by the Chinese public electricity company State Grid and Greek electricity supplier Admie, in which the Chinese firm holds a 25 percent stake.

The load consisted mainly of FFP2 masks which will be distributed principally to hospitals, airport officials said.

Beijing and Athens have been building important commercial relationships for over a decade, especially after the sale of most of the terminals in the port of Piraeus (near Athens) to the Chinese shipping giant Cosco.

With its health system suffering from chronic problems and its economy still creaking after a long-running debt crisis, Greece is facing a shortage of medical equipment, especially masks.

Covid-19 has killed ten people in the country in the past nine days while 495 cases have been recorded, with screening tests being mainly carried out on those suspected of carrying the virus.

After the first death, on March 12, the government adopted strict measures to limit unnecessary movement, ranging from the closure of educational establishments, parks and entertainment facilities to the banning of gatherings of more than 10 people.

The ministry of civil protection has instructed people to stay at home, warning that a complete lockdown will be imposed if their recommendations are ignored.

© Agence France-Presse

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