A Turkish military plane carrying medical supplies to help South Africa combat the spread of the novel coronavirus landed at Cape Town International Airport on Thursday afternoon.
“This is a gesture of the Turkish government to South Africa. The consignment has been prepared upon the instruction of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” Turkish Ambassador Elif Comoglu Ulgen told Anadolu Agency.
She said the consignment comprises medical equipment and personal protection gear including surgical masks, medical-grade N95 masks, and protective suits.
Other items include face shields, medical safety goggles, hand sanitizers, and a disinfection tunnel made specifically for the country.
Ulgen noted that in a personal letter to his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, Erdogan saluted South Africa’s “effective measures” to curb and deal with the pandemic.
She said Erdogan also expressed his solidarity with South Africa and offered condolences to the families of those who had died from the virus.
‘Turkey will stand with Africa’
South Africa is one of the most affected countries in Africa by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 5,350 confirmed cases and 103 deaths confirmed so far.
In his letter, Erdogan expressed concern on predictions indicating that the pandemic could have a more profound impact in Africa.
“In the face of this situation, Turkey will always stand by Africa in the determined fight against the pandemic in terms of experience sharing and medical supplies,” he said.
Erdogan added that the effective measures South Africa has taken since the beginning of the pandemic would contribute towards overcoming the crisis with the least possible loss.
“I wish every success firstly to the [South African] healthcare personnel and to all those who are exerting tremendous efforts to get over this challenging period, and I hope the medical supplies we dispatch today will support your efforts in your fight against the pandemic,” he said.
Ambassador Ulgen also praised South Africa for doing its best to combat COVID-19, saying it implemented some of the fastest and most effective measures in the world to combat the virus.
In a spirit of solidarity and cooperation, Turkey has become the third biggest supplier of medical aid in the world and was already the world’s biggest provider of humanitarian aid, she said.
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