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SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will send protective equipment to China to aid in the effort against the mysterious coronavirus outbreak.
The church will send 220,000 respirator masks, 870 pairs of protective goggles and more than 6,500 pairs of protective coveralls sent on 79 pallets of protective medical equipment.
"As concerns regarding the respiratory illness coronavirus continue to rise, Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, inquired of his long-time friends in China as to what might be needed," according to a news release from the church.
"Through these efforts, the church learned of a need for protective equipment at the Children’s Medical Center in Shanghai, where supplies have been depleted because of the outbreak in Wuhan."
I have had associations with the good people of China for decades. These are our dear brothers and sisters and we feel privileged to be able to offer some small measure of help. We pray for them, and know God will bless them. https://t.co/mPksi1uawf— Russell M. Nelson (@NelsonRussellM) January 29, 2020
The church will work with Project HOPE, an international health care organization, to transport the supplies from the church's storehouses in Salt Lake and Atlanta. A plane from Salt Lake is being chartered to transport the equipment from the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake, and another shipment will be sent from the storehouse in Georgia.
Latter-day Saint volunteers in Shanghai will assist in receiving and distributing the supplies to those in need.
President Nelson is a world-renowned heart surgeon who became a senior leader in the church in 1984. He performed his final heart surgery operation in China in 1985 and has fostered enduring friendships in the area.
“These are our dear brothers and sisters,” President Nelson said in the news release, “and we feel privileged to be able to offer some small measure of help. We pray for them, and know God will bless them.”
The coronavirus is a respiratory infection that began in Wuhan, China, and has spread across the country, currently affecting nearly 6,000 individuals. Dozens of other cases have been confirmed outside of mainland China, including in the United States.
More than 130 people have died from the infection, according to official Chinese statistics, but the number may be much higher in reality. Officials are working to contain the infection as it threatens to spread further.
There is currently no known vaccine or treatment for the virus.
UNICEF, a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children around the world, shipped six metric tons of respiratory masks and protective suits for health workers in Shanghai Wednesday.
The equipment was shipped from UNICEF's global supply hub in Copenhagen and will be delivered to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
“This coronavirus is spreading at a breakneck speed and it is important to put all the necessary resources into halting it,” UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said in a news release. “We may not know enough about the virus’s impact on children or how many may be affected — but we do know that close monitoring and prevention are key. Time is not on our side.”
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