Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: China donates 600,000 masks to Singapore's stockpile

Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min (left) receiving a donation of masks from China's Ambassador to Singapore Hong Xiaoyong at the Ministry of Health yesterday.
Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min (left) receiving a donation of masks from China's Ambassador to Singapore Hong Xiaoyong at the Ministry of Health yesterday. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF HEALTH

China has donated 500,000 surgical masks and 100,000 KN95 masks to Singapore's national stockpile to help the latter manage the coronavirus outbreak.

Its Ambassador to Singapore Hong Xiaoyong handed over the masks to Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min at the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday.

MOH expressed its appreciation in a statement on the same day, saying that the move highlighted the importance of continued mutual assistance and collaboration between the two countries in this period.

This comes after Singapore and China reaffirmed their commitment last month to ensure the free flow of goods and medical supplies during the pandemic, in a year that marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

In a speech thanking China, Dr Lam said yesterday that both countries are working on gradually restoring normalcy to exchanges between them while managing public health risks.

"Our cooperation spans many sectors, including the health, economic and people-to-people spheres.

"We have facilitated the repatriation of each other's nationals, and provided humanitarian assistance to each other in times of need, with contributions from all walks of life," he said.

"Our officials have also been sharing best practices, and discussing initiatives to facilitate trade, the continued flow of essential goods and personnel, and joint research and development, for the benefit of both our countries, as well as the international community."

China is Singapore's largest trading partner by volume.

On April 28, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in a phone call that Singapore will continue to look after the well-being of Chinese migrant workers here.

Earlier in the year, when China was the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, Singapore's Government, companies and charities sent humanitarian aid to the country.

The Government contributed $1 million to kick-start Singapore Red Cross' fund-raising efforts in February.

The Ministry of Defence also delivered more than 2,000kg of medical supplies to China for distribution at military hospitals there in the same month.

In recent months, China has delivered supplies to several countries, including sending Italy millions of masks and dispatching teams of doctors there.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: China donates 600,000 masks to Singapore's stockpile. Subscribe