04:15 GMT28 February 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The government of the central Chinese province of Hubei, the epicentre of deadly 2019-nCoV coronavirus, said on Tuesday that it had fired one and reprimanded two other officials of the Red Cross for failing to adequately distribute publicly donated medical supplies among hospitals in infection-affected areas.

    "Responsible managers and members of the Red Cross Society have been committing negligence and deplorable inaction when receiving and distributing donations at the time of the fight against the virus outbreak", the provincial discipline oversight commission said in an announcement.

    The administrative measures include dismissing and officially reprimanding, with the issuance of a disciplinary penalty, the deputy head of the Hubei Red Cross Society Zhang Qin, and officially reprimanding executives Gao Qin and Chen Bo.

    The Red Cross Society of Hubei has been under fire over the past several days after the pleas of local medical staff on social media for more aid revealed that only a small part of what has been donated to Hubei from across China has actually been delivered to the hospitals that treat infected patients.

    Passengers wearing masks walk outside the Shanghai railway station in Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, February 2, 2020.
    © REUTERS / ALY SONG
    Passengers wearing masks walk outside the Shanghai railway station in Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, February 2, 2020.

    The outbreak of 2019-nCoV, also referred to sometimes as the Wuhan coronavirus after the central Chinese city where it presumably originated, began last December. The current toll of lethal cases stands at 426 and 20,520 people count infected worldwide.

    The Red Cross was among the five organisations that the Chinese government mandated with handling coronavirus-related donations. They were to serve as hubs where the donated cash and medical supplies would flock to then be distributed among hospitals that need them.

    As doctors took to social media to decry critical shortage of protective masks and clothing amid daily exposure to the deadly virus, it became known that of 2 million donated masks only 200,000 actually reached hospitals, including those that did not need them.

    Topic:
    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (195)
    Tags:
    coronavirus, Red Cross, China, Hubei
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