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The New Arab

China's coronavirus aid to Syria fits inside just two cardboard boxes

The delivery arrived on Wednesday [Twitter]

Date of publication: 16 April, 2020

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Syrians have been left disappointed after a delivery of aid from China ended up being just two boxes.
A coronavirus aid delivery from China arrived in Damascus on Wednesday after an outbreak of the disease in Syria  which many fear will have a devastating impact on the country's struggling healthcare sector.

Syrian state media said on Thursday that Covid-19 testing kits arrived at Damascus International Airport. The kits will be used by doctors to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

China's ambassador to Damascus said the delivery was the first batch of medical assistance to Syria and more supplies will follow soon.

But the photo of the aid delivery left many Syrians severely disappointed with their long-time ally.

Syrian and Chinese officials, all wearing face masks, were pictured at the ceremony that marked the arrival of the supplies standing awkwardly on the tarmac around two cardboard boxes. 

"China delivered medical supplies to Syria in the fight against #COVID19, and yes those two boxes were the supplies. Mask diplomacy doesn't (properly) apply to Syria," said Syria analyst Danny Makki on Twitter.

Photos shared by Syrians show workers spraying the two boxes – said to be containing test kits - with disinfectant, as officials stood by watching. 

Shortly after the crew dropped the two boxes off in Damascus, the plane took off for Beirut where the rest of the cargo was delivered.

The dignitaries, which included Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdadd and Assistant Health Minister Ahmad Khlaifawi, were then pictured at a signing ceremony for the aid package with the Chinese ambassador.

Although Syria has only reported 33 cases and two deaths from coronavirus, experts believe the disease is much more widespread in the country.

War, corruption, sanctions and a deteriorating healthcare system mean that an outbreak of the disease will likely have a devastating impact on Syria.

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