The Vatican had been sending masks to China since January; now China's faithful return the favor.
When China was faced with epidemic levels of coronavirus cases the Vatican was quick to send aid in the form of medical masks. Now, China’s Xi’an Diocese, in the Shaanxi province, is returning the favor as China notes a decrease in new cases and Italy’s numbers continue to rise.
Catholic News Service reports that the Xi’an Diocese has sent 24,000 medical masks to Vatican City, as well as many diocese in the cities of Italy.
CNS also has a statement from Father Chen Ruixue, one of the organizers of this charitable donation, who said:
“When mainland China experienced the epidemic, the Holy See and the Italian church group helped by sending medical masks. We have now effectively contained the virus, but Italy is now suffering. It is our turn to help them. “Italy needs help now. We will continue to do our best to raise more materials to donate to them to fight the epidemic. We sincerely hope that these donations, however small they are, will help some people. It will also help promote the friendship between China and the Vatican, and China and Italy.”
The priest caledl COVID-19 the “public enemy of humanity,” and implored everyone to unite against the disease. Father Ruixue also noted that for Chinese citizens, “people’s economic life is returning to normal.” He also noted that he was told that the masks would go to “people on the street,” which suggests that they may be put to use protecting the homeless.
China, from which the first reports of the coronavirus, has seen some of the highest levels of infection (over 81,000) and coronavirus related deaths (over 3,000), but Italy has surpassed China with a death toll over 8,000.
Statistics taken in 2020, place Italy’s percentage of elderly citizens at an estimated at 23.1%. This is about 13 million of their 60 million person population.