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Coronavirus: China requests 145m masks from Egypt

People wear face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, China on 22 January 2020 [Getty Images]
People wear face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, China on 22 January 2020 [Getty Images]

China has requested 145 million masks from Egypt as the death toll on the mainland reaches 490, reports the New Arab.

Some 24,000 cases of the infection have been confirmed in the country.

In China and across the world there has been a surging demand for face masks and a subsequent shortage as panic surrounds the outbreak.

As demand increases, the price of masks has skyrocketed.

READ: Emirates, Etihad to stop most China flights as UAE announces suspension

Egyptian manufacturers, who produce 60 million masks a year and usually import them from China, must significantly increase production levels.

Kuwait, which has no confirmed cases, has also shipped eight million masks to China.

Egypt also has no confirmed cases of coronavirus at home but Chinese authorities have refused to allow two Egyptians to leave China after suspecting they may have contracted the virus.

Egyptians evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus in China, will be quarantined in Matrouh Governorate for two weeks.

Egypt has been criticised for its response to the coronavirus epidemic, with the minister of health announcing that Chinese restaurants would be fully checked and its workers reviewed for symptoms of the virus.

Across the world, people of Asian descent have described being discriminated against at work and the rise of racism and stereotyping as the number of cases rise.

Activists: Egypt's plans to tackle coronavirus laughable 

There was an outcry in Egypt as doctors, nurses and medical staff had their annual leave cancelled.

Authorities have deployed ten self-sanitising ambulances to deal with cases at a cost of 5.5 million Egyptian pounds ($348,514) each.

There are five confirmed cases in the UAE.

Algeria will evacuate several Libyan students, ten Tunisians and 36 Algerians from Wuhan.

Algeria has sent 50,000 masks, 20,000 protective glasses and 300,000 gloves to China.

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