KUALA LUMPUR: China on Thursday (Mar 19) sent its first batch of medical supplies to the Sungai Buloh Hospital in the Malaysian state of Selangor.
Malaysia on Friday reported 130 new COVID-19 cases, taking the national total to 1,030 and making it the country with the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.
Selangor has the most infections with 263 cases as of 12pm on Friday, followed by the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur with 139 cases. Sabah and Johor have 119 and 114 cases respectively.
In a Facebook post, the China Embassy in Malaysia posted photos of a lorry carrying boxes of medical supplies.
“Action without delay! The first batch of medical materials from China Embassy is on the way to Sungai Buloh Hospital,” said the embassy.
The China and Malaysia flags could be seen on the boxes of medical items, labelled as face masks, along with the Malay idiom “berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing” (carry the heavy and light loads together).
A banner on the lorry also carried a different idiom that said “bukit sama didaki, lurah sama dituruni” (climb the hill and come down together).
Both phrases refer to the importance of unity, teamwork and supporting each other through hardships.
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The Malaysian Ministry of Health said in an update on Friday that 12 government healthcare workers and three from the private health care sector have been infected by COVID-19.
One of the government healthcare workers is currently in intensive care on ventilator support.
The ministry reiterated its appeal to the public, urging them to stay at home: “Please help us to help you.”
China’s provision of aid comes after the Malaysia government announced in January that it would send 18 million medical gloves to healthcare workers in Wuhan.
Since then, the World Health Organization has warned that Europe was now the “epicentre” for the global coronavirus pandemic, adding it was impossible to know when the outbreak would peak.
The continent had now “more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China”, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
China on Thursday reported no new domestic cases of the coronavirus for the first time since it started recording them in January, but recorded a spike in infections imported from abroad.
Amid the global spread of COVID-19, China has also been sending aid to other countries.
China on Tuesday sent more than 2,000 coronavirus fast test kits to Cambodia, the Xinhua news agency reported.
A spokesperson for the Cambodia health ministry said other China-donated items such a protective suits, medical face masks and equipment wouldarrive later.
China on Tuesday also said that it stands ready to help Indonesia curb the spread of the coronavirus.
According to a Xinhua report, the Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia said that China would “provide as much assistance as possible”.
In recent weeks, China has also donated hundreds of thousands of surgical masks and test kits to the Philippines and Pakistan, sent teams of medics to Iran and Iraq, and extended a US$500 million loan to help Sri Lanka combat the virus.
Regarding the COVID-19 outbreak gripping Europe, President Xi Jinping pledged assistance to hardest-hit Italy and Spain.
Two Chinese medical teams have been sent to Italy, which is now the second hardest-hit country in the world with more than 35,000 cases.