As concerns regarding the respiratory illness coronavirus continue to rise, Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, inquired of his longtime friends in China as to what might be needed.
Through these efforts, the Church learned of a need for protective equipment at the Children’s Medical Center in Shanghai, where supplies have been depleted because of the outbreak in Wuhan. In partnering with Project HOPE (Health Oriented Preventive Education), plans are being made to distribute the needed supplies.
Working with Project HOPE, a plane from Salt Lake City is being chartered to transport supplies from the Church’s Bishops Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City. A second shipment will be sent from the Church’s storehouse in Atlanta. In all there will be 220,000 respirator masks, 870 pairs of protective goggles and more than 6,500 pairs of protective coveralls sent on 79 pallets of protective medical equipment.
In Shanghai, Latter-day Saint volunteers hope to assist in the receipt and distribution of the supplies to those in need.
President Nelson, a world-renowned heart surgeon for much of his life until called as an apostle of the Church in 1984, is well-known for performing heart surgery, including in China, where his final operation was performed in 1985. Through his professional career and service to the Church he has made lasting and enduring friendships. “These are our dear brothers and sisters,” President Nelson said, “and we feel privileged to be able to offer some small measure of help. We pray for them and know God will bless them.”
Coronavirus was first identified in the Hubei Province of China, where the number of infections has reached nearly 6,000, with dozens more confirmed cases outside of mainland China. Governments and citizens around the world are stepping up precautions to contain the spread of the virus.