PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will be providing healthcare workers in Wuhan, China with 18 million pieces of medical gloves to aid the country in combating the novel coronavirus (2019-nC0V) outbreak.
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said this was a joint initiative of the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council and local rubber glove manufacturers.
The companies who have pledged to donate are Smart Glove, Top Glove, Hartalega, MREPC, Supermax, Kossan, YTY, Brightway, Koon Seng and Careplus.
“The medical gloves, both natural rubber and nitrile, will be sent to China in batches. The first shipment is already on its way to Wuhan,” she said, adding that Top Glove and Supermax had already donated 2.3 million gloves through its local distributors.
Kok said the additional gloves could be flown directly to Wuhan, adding that she has already reached out to Wisma Putra.
“They (Wisma Putra) are trying to get Malaysians stuck there to come back so there will be a special flight to Wuhan.
“I already requested for the gloves to be put in the plane to be sent straight to Wuhan,” she said at a press conference here today.
She said China has been the nation’s biggest trading partner for 10 consecutive years, adding that there is currently a great need for protective medical supplies in the country as supplies are running low.
“These companies were approached during the Chinese New Year celebrations to contribute towards helping China in its efforts to treat patients there.
“Although many were still enjoying the festive break, the top leadership of the glove manufacturers in Malaysia stepped forward and gave their commitment in ensuring this initiative would be a success.”
She added that Malaysia had sent around 20 million medical gloves to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Congo in 2014 to help combat the Ebola virus epidemic at the time.
Company representatives as well as Bai Tian, China’s ambassador to Malaysia, were present at the press conference.
China ambassador disappointed over suspension of flights
Meanwhile, Bai expressed disappointment in the Sabah state government’s decision to suspend all scheduled and chartered flights from China to Sabah with immediate effect.
“I think this needs a second thought because any decision made by any government or organisation has to be based on very solid foundations.”
He hoped that the normal inflow of people and trade activities between Malaysia and China would not be affected despite the current situation.
The Sabah state government made the decision yesterday following a state Cabinet meeting in light of the coronavirus threat and in the interest of the people’s welfare.
Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew, who is also state tourism, culture and environment minister, stressed that the ban was only temporary until the situation was back to normal.