The increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Portugal, to over 12 thousand, generated a wave of solidarity in Macau, with important donations from the community, including one of more than 250 thousand protective masks by the Portuguese-Macanese group Quinta da Marmeleira.
According to a source from the group, a major wine producer in the Lisbon region, 100,000 masks (N95 and surgical) and FFP2 respirators, duly certified, have been delivered to the Portuguese Embassy in Beijing, which has been channelling support, to be sent to the Ministry of Health in Portugal, public hospitals in Porto and Lisbon, Police, Municipalities, among other institutions.
Another 110,000 masks, used by medical teams involved in combating the COVID-19 epidemic, have already been purchased, and the group is looking to acquire another 40,000 to be donated next week, according to the same source.
For the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Quinta da Marmeleira, Wu Zhiwei, “this is the moment for total solidarity”, and so it was decided to heed the calls of the Portuguese authorities, “within the group’s social responsibility policy”.
“If we came to China to help three months ago, now it is Portugal’s turn and this gesture has a special meaning that keeps us connected to this multi-century friendship between Portugal and China and to give the best support and encouragement to all people working on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic”, said Wu Zhiwei, who is also vice president of the Portugal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In February, as the health crisis was at its peak in China, the group had already donated to Macau and the cities of the Greater Bay, tens of thousands of masks, gloves, anti-contamination suits and other protective material.
Portuguese wine company Quinta da Marmeleira, owned by Wu Zhiwei, is one of the main producers of wine in the Carregado region of Portugal, municipality of Alenquer, north of Lisbon.
Last Sunday, a plane chartered by the Portuguese State arrived in Lisbon with medical equipment from Beijing, including 144 hospital ventilators and respiratory protection masks for the National Health System.
The cargo includes medical equipment donated by EDP and its Chinese shareholder, the state-owned China Three Gorges, by Chinese Internet giants Tencent and Alibaba, but also by private individuals, such as Portuguese coach Vítor Pereira, in addition to acquisitions made by the Portuguese state.
The Portuguese embassy in Beijing said that there is more cargo to be sent, and that it “vastly” exceeds the capacity of a single airplane, so “more flights will be needed”.
An order of 500 ventilators made by the Portuguese State to a Chinese company is expected to be delivered on April 15th, according to the Embassy.
To assist Portuguese authorities with supplying hospital material, the Portuguese and Chinese communities have been raising funds.
In Macau, around 2,5 million MOP were deposited in an account at Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU) by April 7 afternoon, last day for the campaign, but a further 1 million MOP transfer was expected, according to a source at the bank, so the account will remain open.
In Portugal, the Chinese community is also raising money to buy ventilators and other medical equipment, to be delivered to Portuguese hospitals, under coordination of Choi Man Hin, President of the Association of Luso-Chinese Industrialists.
So far, donations have topped 600 thousand MOP, according to a close source. Funds will be transferred in about two weeks to an account at the Portuguese Embassy in Beijing, for the purchase of medical materials and equipment.