The Catholic News Service reported that the Vatican has sent up to 700,000 masks to China beginning last month.
“The masks are destined to the provinces of Hubei, Zhejiang and Fujian,” the press office told the CNS. “It is a joint initiative of the Office of Papal Charities and the Chinese Church in Italy, in collaboration with the Vatican pharmacy.”
Some of the masks were sent to Hubei, the province that has become the epicenter of the coronavirus, the Vatican News reported. More than 360 people have died from the illness and 17,000 people have been sickened worldwide as of Monday.
China has responded by issuing widespread quarantines, quickly building hospitals and enacting travel restrictions. The United States has confirmed 11 coronavirus cases.
Last week, some pharmacies across the U.S. reportedly sold out of masks as the coronavirus was in the midst of spreading beyond China’s borders.
U.S. officials last week declared a public health emergency and said some travelers would be temporarily banned from entering the country.