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Dubuque asked to send aid to Chinese sister-city amid coronavirus

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) - As the coronavirus continues to spread across China, the City of Dubuque is trying to find a way to help.

Dubuque has been a sister-city with Handan, China, since the 1980s. The cities bonded over agricultural industries and a booming city growth.

Handan is located between between Beijing and Wuhan; the epicenter of the coronavirus. Dick Landis, Former Chair of Dubuque's Sister City Relationships Advisory Commission, said the town is a major transportation hub between the two cities.

"Twenty-eight cases is not overwhelming, but it can spread and that's the big problem, said Landis. "Nobody anywhere is prepared with the proper googles and masks and gloves and full-body armor and whatever to try and work with this."

Currently, there are 28 confirmed cases of the coronavirus within Handan. However, panic as set in for the remaining three-million population.

Landis said they received an email from Handan officials last week asking for medical supplies. Items such as masks and gloveshave been flying off of store shelves.

"It's not just the hospitals and the clinics," said Landis. "It's the police department, the person who takes your ticket at the train station. It just goes on and on."

However, the virus has strained medical item surpluses around the world; including the U.S. The city reached out to Medline in hopes they could purchase items to send to Handan; but their stock was low.

"We did contact one of the medical supplies companies in town of course," said Landis. "And they're trying to see what they can come up with. But they have their own customer base first and foremost."

The city is still looking for way they can send aid to Handan. However, there is no clear plan just yet.

There are 13 confirmed cases of the coronavirus within the U.S. One American citizen has died from the virus on mainland China.

There are about 45,000 cases of the coronavirus globally and more than 1,100 deaths. Most of those deaths are predominantly in mainland China.

Ashley Scott

Reporter, Dubuque

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