ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A municipal government in China has donated 40,000 medical-grade face masks to Maryland’s capital city amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The donations from Changsha, China, were first offered to Annapolis city officials in April, when the need for the masks among public safety workers was high in the beginning days of the pandemic, Annapolis City Manager David Jarrell said in a news release Tuesday.
They arrived this month, with one of the boxes featuring strikers of American and Chinese flags with a message that read: “Go, City of Annapolis! Best Wishes from Changsha! True unity inspires people to work as one to overcome adversity,” The Capital Gazette reported.
Another note from Yani Xia, a representative in the Chinese city’s Foreign Affairs Office, accompanied the shipments. “We sincerely wish you and everyone in Annapolis continued good health, and the fortitude to persevere during this challenging period,” Xia’s note read.
Annapolis’ relationship with Changsha began under a former city administrator, according to the release. The two municipalities are now sister cities.
“These masks help in Transportation, Public Works, and Recreation and Parks, among others,” said Kevin Simmons, director of the Annapolis’ Office of Emergency Management. About 20,000 masks will be distributed to public safety employees while the other half will be given based on need, the newspaper reported.
Nearly 97,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Maryland, and more than 3,460 have died, according to the state’s Health department.
In response to the donations, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley sent Changsha officials another gift: a book of photographs of Annapolis.
“International friendships like this bridge divides,” Buckley said in the release. “I’m grateful for the gift of the masks, but I’m even more grateful for what it says about the hopefulness of the human condition.”
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