Some of China’s largest cities have donated 40,000 face masks to Cork hospitals thanks to an almost 20-year twinning link.
There are hopes of further deliveries of PPE and vital medical equipment from Shanghai, Wuxi, Hangzhou and Shenzen in the weeks ahead. The value of donations could be worth up to €500,000.
Up to 21,000 masks have been given to Cork University Hospital (CUH) by Cork City Council, on behalf of the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office and another 19,000 masks have been presented to the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) on the behalf of Wenzhou Chamber. The masks will be used by both frontline healthcare staff and patients.
The HSE has also been made aware of the new supply route in the hope that it could explore additional PPE and medical equipment supply chains.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, said the masks donation illustrates the depth of the relationship between Cork city and China.
"We are truly appreciative of this support and it once more underlines how challenges like Covid-19 can only be overcome by people working together," he said.
Cork City Council has been developing ties with China since 2002 and in 2005, Cork became the first Irish city to twin with a Chinese city when it signed a Sister City agreement with the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government - a city of around 25m people.
It covers education, local government, culture and in recent years, public health and has been one of Cork’’s most active and successful twinning links.
It led to the signing of other partner city links, including in 2011, with the Hangzhou Municipal People’s Government and the Wuxi Municipal People’s Government, and in 2013, with the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government.
PPE donations have also been made by the Ireland Cork Chinese Business Association, the government of Hangzhou, CAJ Senior Care Beijing, and the Ireland China Science and Technology Association for use in acute hospitals and other care settings including nursing homes.
It comes as Google Ireland announced a €1m grant fund yesterday to help Irish NGOs deal with the fall-out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The grants, from Google Ireland’’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, will be split evenly to fund certain groups and local communities as the country emerges slowly from lockdown.
Among the NGOs to benefit are FoodCloud, ALONE, A Lust for Life, and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, with Google Ireland’’s local communities in Ringsend/Pearse St and Clondalkin/Tallaght also in line for a funding boost.
Funding will also be provided to groups helping job seekers and SMEs as they and the economy try to recover.