“China’s global coronavirus rescue campaign is well underway,” says Ian Brzezinski, resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. “Beijing sent millions of surgical masks (including 200,000 advanced masks) and 50,000 testing kits to Europe.”
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Europe has been host to some of the largest number of confirmed cases throughout the world, including over 69,000 cases in Italy, 47,000 in Spain, and 35,000 in Germany as of March 25. As European countries struggle to slow the spread of COVID-19 and also face some of the highest fatality rates, China has started to offer the overwhelmed European governments some much needed assistance. China has provided Italy, Spain, France, Greece, the Czech Republic, and other countries with masks, gloves, ventilators, and medical experts to help contain the outbreak.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio says the Chinese aid confirms that “we are not alone, there are people in the world who want the help Italy.”
Response to China’s coronavirus outreach in Europe, however, is not entirely without suspicion. European leaders have noted that Beijing is simply attempting to course-correct its initial mismanagement of the coronavirus and failure to prevent the local Wuhan outbreak from becoming the global pandemic it is today. In fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has referred to the Chinese aid as a matter of “reciprocity.”