Millions of dollars’ worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) including N95 face masks, surgical gowns and thermometers is en route to Antigua, courtesy of the Calvin Ayre Foundation.
The charity – headed by the billionaire businessman – sourced the equipment from China to boost the twin island country’s fight against Covid-19.
“As Antigua and Barbuda and many other small island developing states struggle to protect their citizenry from this highly contagious and deadly coronavirus, it is becoming painfully obvious that we cannot look to the traditional donors and trading partners for assistance in providing urgently needed PPEs,” Ayre told Observer.
Earlier this month, US authorities put a temporary ban on the export of various protective items including surgical masks and ventilators. The controversial move left many countries struggling to source vital goods.
“Thankfully, we were able to procure the desperately needed protective equipment from China for our frontline workers in Antigua and Barbuda,” Ayre explained.
The shipment, worth $4 million, also includes disposable gloves and full-length shields to help keep local medics safe. It will be officially handed over to Ministry of Health officials later this week.
“We are truly happy to be in a position to assist the government and citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, and especially the brave people on the frontline,” Ayre added.
“These are the people who risk their lives to protect others and we feel it is our duty to ensure that they are adequately protected.”
The Calvin Ayre Foundation (CAF) is an independent charitable organisation founded in 2005 and based in Antigua. It works with local groups and communities in several countries, with a focus on child welfare, education, social development, emergency response, and animals.