Vatican sends more than half-million masks to China amid coronavirus outbreak

Vatican sends more than half-million masks to China amid coronavirus outbreak
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The Vatican reportedly sent hundreds of thousands of masks to China amid the outbreak of a coronavirus that has infected thousands in China after spreading from the city of Wuhan. 

The Vatican confirmed it sent the masks to China in an email to the Catholics News Service on Monday.

"The masks are destined to the provinces of Hubei, Zhejiang and Fujian," the press office told the news service. "It is a joint initiative of the Office of Papal Charities and the Chinese Church in Italy, in collaboration with the Vatican pharmacy."

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The donation was first reported by The Global Times, a Chinese tabloid controlled by the governing Communist Party. The tabloid reported the Vatican has sent 600,000 to 700,000 masks since last week. 

The donation comes as the virus rapidly spreads across China. China’s Health Commission reported a total of 17,205 confirmed cases of the disease and 361 deaths as of Sunday. 

The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, spread beyond the Asian country. 

U.S. officials reported 11 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. as of Sunday.