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Jumpstarting Global PPE Distribution: Connecting Family Mask to Africa’s At-Risk Communities

On 5 March 2020, the Family Mask team, led by Founder and Chairperson, Ms. Jessie Chung, saw the live news segment on television wherein South Africa’s Minister of Health, Mr. Zweli Mkhize, confirmed that COVID-19 has spread to the country, with the first known patient being a male citizen who tested positive upon his return from Italy.

Acting swiftly, on 15 March, the President of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, declared a national state of disaster and announced measures such as immediate travel restrictions and the closure of schools from 18 March. On 17 March, the National Coronavirus Command Council was established “to lead the nation’s plan to contain the spread and mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus.” On 23 March, a national lockdown was announced, starting on 26 March 2020.

Family Mask stands in solidarity with our African “family”. Co-Founder Mr. Kenneth Kwok reached out through his World Economic Forum network to the Global Shapers Hub based in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the intention of supporting local efforts in ensuring adequate PPE availability within the most at-risk communities.

Through Jumpstart Media, an initial donation was made to the Johannesburg Hub in April 2020. Mr. Saieshan Govinder from Global Shaper Johannesburg Hub comments:

“A big thank you to Kenneth Kwok and the entire Family Mask team for their generous donation of face masks. This cross-continental partnership has demonstrated the power of collaboration in ensuring that no one is left behind during this pandemic. Together, we were able to make a difference to the lives of so many.”

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