CHANGSHA, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Overseas Chinese have responded earnestly to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China as the number of infected cases continues to rise.
Chinese health authorities announced Saturday that 11,791 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps by the end of Friday.
As the outbreak of the disease has led to a rising demand for medical supplies, overseas Chinese have organized large donations for those in urgent need back home.
On Jan. 28, the Hunan Provincial Federation of Industry and Commerce launched an initiative to overseas commerce chambers and business owners, calling for joint efforts against the epidemic.
The initiative saw donations coming in batches from overseas Chinese business owners thanks to the help of the chambers.
Chinese betel nut retailer Kouweiwang Group based in the United Arab Emirates was one of the first donors. The company has provided 93,000 medical masks, over 90,000 protective suits and over 3,000 pairs of goggles.
Meanwhile, thousands of protective suits and medical masks have been shipped to China by business owners including Liu Chunying with the Hunan Chamber of Commerce in Thailand. More donation activities are being held in Bangladesh and Uganda.
"We have bought 16,200 medical suits and the resources packed in 2,700 cases will be shipped to China as soon as possible," said Fan Xiaofang, chairperson of the Hunan Fellowship Association of Florida. Fan expects a timely delivery of the protective gear to the frontline.
"I'm deeply worried about the rising number of infected people in my hometown Hunan, and I'm willing to make my due contribution," said Yin Hongxia, an overseas consultant to the Hunan Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and vice chairwoman of the Panama Chinese Federation.
There are more than 300,000 Chinese in Panama and almost every Chinese is trying to help find supplies to overcome the epidemic, Yin said.
Hunan Province, which borders Hubei that administers the hard-hit city of Wuhan, has become a favorable transport hub for the delivery of supplies from overseas Chinese since the airport in Wuhan has been closed for epidemic control and prevention.
The customs in Changsha has streamlined the process for the delivery of relief supplies, set up a hotline and offered guidance for customs clearance.
As of Jan. 31, over 6.34 million yuan (about 914,000 U.S. dollars) had been donated by overseas Chinese and people from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan through the efforts of Hunan authorities.
A total of 68,518 protective suits, 38,765 masks, 87,718 pairs of medical gloves and 3,820 units of medical alcohol have also been donated.