China envoy says Fil-Chi groups to donate 600,000 face masks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2020 06:35 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2020 08:11 PM

MANILA - A group of Filipino-Chinese businessmen in the Philippines will donate over a half-million face masks to the public, China's envoy said Friday, a day after health officials confirmed the Manila's first case of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov).

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said that upon his suggestion, at least 600,000 masks will be donated by the Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.

"We believe China and the Philippines [have] come through thick and thin. We will continue to go hand in hand to overcome the difficulties and we are very confident to bring our people back on track [at] an early date," Huang told reporters Friday.

Demand for face masks spiked amid fears of the spread of the new coronavirus, which has left 200 people dead in China. The World Health Organization has declared a global emergency with 10,000 reported cases in 18 countries.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier called on the public to stop hoarding face masks, emphasizing that a shortage of supply will affect health workers and other people who need it most. 

“We ask the public to be very, very judicious in the use of these materials,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said.

Domingo said they are already working with suppliers to deliver much-needed face masks to hospitals.

- With a report from Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News