Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has stepped in to help European countries battling the coronavirus pandemic. The billionaire Chinese businessman has pledged to donate two million protective masks which will be distributed in Europe. Besides he has also pledged to donate 500,000 test kits to the United States where coronavirus cases have been on the rise over the past few days.

A number of companies across the globe have come forward and contributing in their own way to contain and fight the deadly coronavirus. Alibaba and its co-founder Jack Ma certainly has been one of the most prominent names in this regard who have been continuously trying to donate a variety of things ranging from medical masks to testing kits in countries that are facing crisis.

A philanthropic move

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Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma. IANS

Jack Ma pledged to provide Europe with two million protective masks. The first consignment of the masks arrived in Belgium on Friday, which will now be sent to Italy. The announcement was made by both Alibaba and Jack Ma foundations via a statement. Other flights containing test kits, protective masks and medical supplies too will be arriving soon to different European countries.

Ma has also pledged to donate 500,000 testing kits to the United States along with one million medical masks. The United States is facing an acute crisis of both test kits and protective masks. "Drawing from my own country's experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus," Ma said in a statement.

Not the first time for Ma

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Reuters

The deadly coronavirus, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on Thursday has infected over 128,000 people across the globe with 4,700 resulting in deaths since it identified for the first time in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. The virus has now spread into Europe, The United States and other Asian and African countries.

The United States has already reported 1,676 cases and confirmed 40 deaths so far. This is not the first time that Jack Ma and Alibaba have come forward to help. In end January, Ma pledged to donate 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) towards "supporting and developing a coronavirus vaccine". Later, Ma donated another $12.5 million to Peter Doroty Institution for Infection and Immunity in Australia, to develop and find a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus.