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The United Nations announced Saturday that it is donating 250,000 protective face masks to New York as part of the effort to stem the coronavirus crisis.
“I am pleased to announce with United States Ambassador Kelly Craft the donation of 250,000 protective face masks, just located in United Nations stores in New York, to the United States,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
“These masks, in surplus to United Nations requirements, will be given to the medical professionals in New York City who have been working courageously, selflessly, and tirelessly in response to the spread of COVID-19 across the boroughs in the hope that they play some small role in saving lives,” he said.
He said that the U.N. is working with the U.S. Mission and the New York City mayor’s office to move them to facilities across the city.
As of Saturday morning, New York has 52,318 confirmed coronavirus cases and 728 deaths. United Nations Headquarters is located on the east side of New York City.
The move on masks comes days after Guterres announced the creation of a $2 billion international fund to help push back against the crisis in poorer parts of the world. The package will be coordinated by the body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). National governments will be urged to commit to the plan, while keeping up their existing funding to a plethora of U.N. projects and funds.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is pushing the U.N. Security Council to state explicitly that the virus originated in Wuhan, China — a move that faces significant challenges, particularly as China has a veto on the Council.
“All members of the Security Council must recognize the threat that China’s mishandling of the outbreak poses to international peace and security,” a State Department official told Fox News this week. “The People’s Republic of China has been more interested in saving face than saving lives.”
The Chinese Mission to the U.N., when asked by Fox News about the effort, said on Thursday that it was “astonished by the choice of the United States to use whatever venue and opportunity for politicizing the COVID-19 and blaming China, which we strongly oppose.”
Fox News’ Ben Evansky contributed to this report.