Unicef sends China supplies as virus infections near 6,000

Workers make medical masks at a factory in eastern China. (AP pic)

NEW YORK: Unicef announced Wednesday it has shipped six tonnes of humanitarian supplies to China, including masks and protective suits, to help it fight the coronavirus epidemic.

The shipment, which was sent from Denmark, has arrived in Shanghai for onward movement to Wuhan, the city in central China at the epicentre of the outbreak, the United Nations Children’s Fund said.

Additional deliveries are expected in the coming days and weeks, it said.

The new virus has killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000 in mainland China, sparking global alerts as Chinese health authorities struggle to contain it.

“This coronavirus is spreading at a breakneck speed and it is important to put all the necessary resources into halting it,” Unicef’s executive director Henrietta Fore said.

She said the impact of the virus on children or how many have been infected was not yet known.

“But we do know that close monitoring and prevention are key. Time is not on our side,” she said.