A Chinese partner university of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has donated 1,000 face masks to Leicester hospitals to help medical staff working on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Liaoning University, in the Shenyang region of China, contacted DMU to donate the masks and DMU asked if they could pass them on to Leicester Royal Infirmary, run by the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.
Around 1,500 student nurses from DMU are currently on placements in hospitals around the East Midlands, while DMU speeded up the registration process for final year medical students, meaning an extra 200 newly-qualified nurses have been fast-tracked to support the fight against COVID-19.
In a letter to DMU, Liaoning leaders said during the pandemic it is important to reach out 'to strengthen solidarity and cooperation'.
The letter, signed by the university's president, Yishan Pan, and party secretary Haobo Zhou, also refers to an old saying that 'though separated by mountains and rivers, we share one moon under the same sky'.
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The COVID-19 strain of Coronavirus was first discovered in China late last year and the country was the first to see thousands of people die and tens of thousands more hospitalised.
DMU's partnership with Liaoning University, and in particular its SunWah International Business School, has led to many DMU students and staff working on exchange programs as well as collaborating in teaching and research. A lot of personal friendships have been formed as a result.
The letter continues: "On behalf of Liaoning University we sincerely hope all the students and faculty staff of your university stay safe and sound.
"The public health crisis is a challenge for mankind so the most effective measure is to strengthen solidarity and cooperation.
"The collaboration of higher education institutions plays a significant part in terms of building a community with a shared future…for tackling global challenges.
"Standing together with concerted efforts, we will tide over hard times and eventually win the anti-pandemic war.
"As always we look forward to our further collaboration and creating new chapters in the future. Stay safe and strong."
DMU Interim Vice-Chancellor Andy Collop has written to the university thanking them for the gesture and offering best wishes to the students and staff in China.
Professor Heather McLaughlin, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Community & Civic Engagement and the Dean of DMU's Faculty of Business and Law, organised for the masks to be sent to Leicester Royal Infirmary, which is based a few hundred yards from the city campus.
The parcel of face masks was shipped to Leicester Royal Infirmary
Professor McLaughlin said: "Liaoning University has shown great generosity by donating these 1,000 face masks to the Leicester Royal Infirmary.
"We have always enjoyed a close partnership with the SunWah International Business School which has benefited thousands of students and staff from both Liaoning and DMU over many years.
"This wonderful gesture shows how standing together during this pandemic, no matter how far apart we may be, can really make a difference to our communities."
Posted on Thursday 16th April 2020