Chinese leaders confirmed Wednesday there are more than 6,065 cases of the new Coronavirus believed to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many medical associates in China through his heart surgery procedures during his medical career.
On Wednesday, Nelson said he inquired of his longtime friends in China as to what might be needed.
“Through these efforts, the church learned of a need for protective equipment at the Children’s Medical Center in Shanghai, where supplies have been depleted because of the outbreak in Wuhan,” a church press release said. “In partnering with Project HOPE (Health Oriented Preventive Education), plans are being made to distribute the needed supplies.”
With Project HOPE, a plane from Salt Lake City has been chartered to transport supplies from the LDS Church’s Bishop’s Central Storehouse. A second shipment will be sent from the church’s storehouse in Atlanta.
“In all there will be 220,000 respirator masks, 870 pairs of protective goggles and more than 6,500 pairs of protective coveralls sent on 79 pallets of protective medical equipment,” the church statement said.
In Shanghai, Latter-day Saint volunteers hope to assist in the receipt and distribution of the supplies to those in need.
Nelson, a world-renowned heart surgeon for much of his life until called as an apostle of the church in 1984, is well-known for performing heart surgery, including in China, where his final operation was performed in 1985. Through his professional career and service to the church, he has made lasting and enduring friendships.
“These are our dear brothers and sisters,” Nelson said, “and we feel privileged to be able to offer some small measure of help. We pray for them and know God will bless them.”
According to The Associated Press, the growth in coronavirus cases has foreign governments airlifting their citizens out of Wuhan — the outbreak’s epicenter.
The World Health Organization reported that China said on Wednesday that 132 people had died from the virus, and is spreading across the country. The previous count, on Tuesday, was 106.
The number of confirmed cases increased to 6,065 on Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization. The number on Tuesday was 4,515, according to China’s National Health Commission.
Thailand has reported 14 cases of infection; Hong Kong has 10; the United States, Taiwan, Australia and Macau have five cases each; Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia each have reported four; Japan has seven; France has four; Canada has three; Vietnam has two; and Nepal, Cambodia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates each have one, according to New York Times reports.