State airline Aerolíneas Argentinas announced Wednesday that the first in a series of flights to China had departed Buenos Aires, as part of a search for medical supplies to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The first flight departed Ezeiza International Airport on Wednesday. It will make a "technical stopover" in Auckland, before heading onto Shanghai.
There, "13 tons of critical supplies made up of sanitary and protective material will be loaded for Coronavirus prevention tasks," for which the cabin of a Airbus 330-200 has been readjusted, said a statement from the flagship carrier.
The company clarified that this is the first in a series of flights. The trip will have a total duration of 55 hours, and the plane will be charged with a crew of 17 people including pilots, aeronautical technicians, dispatchers and operating personnel, according to the statement. At least 12 pilots volunteered to under the the three-day trip. No crew member will be allowed to depart the plane for risk of contagion.
Clarín reported this week that the Chinese government has already donated medical supplies to Argentina, sending boxes of medical supplies. Provincial governments, companies and municipal governments in China have also sent aid, the newspaper reported.
Argentina has been under a compulsory social quarantine since March 20. In the South American country. To date, more than 2,500 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, with 115 deaths.