UPS is airlifting supplies of respirator masks and protective gear to China for healthcare workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Sandy Springs-based shipping giant is transporting more than 2 million respirator masks, 11,000 protective coveralls and 280,000 pairs of nitrile gloves to Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Workers loaded the cargo plane early Saturday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson for a 5:30 a.m. departure.
UPS, which has more than 6,000 employees in China, has also suspended some package pickups and deliveries in China and other countries in Asia until Feb. 9.
The disruptions come as the Chinese government extended the Lunar New Year holiday to keep people at home and avoid spreading infection.
The effort is being coordinated with the Georgia-based nonprofits -- MAP International and MedShare -- as well as the Red Cross Society of China, Project HOPE and product donors Henry Schein, 3M and others.
News reports have indicated that medical workers were falling ill, Wuhan hospitals had pleaded for donations of masks and other supplies, and some medical staff were using makeshift supplies.
The company said it is also giving advice to employees on what to do if they exhibit any symptoms.
“City-wide quarantines, transportation restrictions, passenger flight suspensions to slow the outbreak of the virus and the extended Lunar New Year are contributing to a fluid situation,” UPS said in a written statement.
The company said earlier this week it is deferring non-critical travel to Asia “out of an abundance of caution.”
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