March 13, 2020 / 7:17 PM / 25 days ago

Jack Ma to donate test kits, masks to U.S. in fight against coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group arrives at the "Tech for Good" Summit in Paris, France May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

(Reuters) - Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma said he will donate 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and 1 million masks to the United States and urged international cooperation to fight the health crisis.

Ma’s initiative, a collaboration between his private charity and Alibaba Foundation, had recently donated relief materials to areas in Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran and Spain.

U.S. testing of coronavirus was hampered by flawed kits distributed by the federal government in February, which gave some false results. That has set the country back in containing an outbreak that has infected more than 122,000 people worldwide and more than 1,660 in the United States.

Ma said speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus.

“The pandemic we face today can no longer be resolved by any individual country,” Ma said in a statement.

Silicon Valley billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates had recently announced initiatives bit.ly/2vVgxQ0 to expand testing for the virus in their local areas.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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