Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to donate 500,000 coronavirus test kits to US


San Francisco sidewalks are largely empty as many companies urge employees to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak.

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For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Jack Ma speaks with US business leaders in 2015.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Jack Ma, co-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, plans to donate 500,000 test kits and 1 million face masks to the US amid the coronavirus outbreak. In statement shared Friday on Twitter, the Chinese billionaire said the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation have the test kits and face masks “sourced and readied for shipment.”

“Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are the most effective in preventing the spread of the virus,” Ma said in the statement. “We can’t beat this virus unless we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our know-how and hard-earned lessons.”

Hangzhou, China-based Alibaba Group confirmed the donation to CNET. 

A lack of test kits has so far prevented the US from assessing the full extent of the virus’ spread.  

As of Thursday, there were more than 1,200 cases of coronavirus reported in the US and 36 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 13,000 tests have been conducted for the virus in the United States so far. During a congressional hearing Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said all Americans will have access to free testing.

Coronavirus deaths worldwide have topped 5,000, with more than 136,000 confirmed cases. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic.

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