SAN ANTONIO — As China tries to cope with the outbreak of the Coronavirus, San Antonio is stepping up to help their sister city located a few hundred miles from the epicenter of the virus.
Ben Parker is with the Alamo Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and has been in touch with people in Wuxi, China, a sister city to San Antonio.
“Like all of China, they’re going through a very tough time with the Coronavirus,” said Parker.
Even though Wuxi is a few hundred miles from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, Parker said the outbreak is having a direct impact on the city.
“There is a lot of concern not only about the virus itself, which is obviously very concerning, but also about how it's affecting their daily lives, whether they have to be quarantined or unable to go back to work,” said Parker.
He said our friends in Wuxi have expressed concerns about their economy, especially because so many businesses are closed, and people can’t go to work.
““If you can't go to work because of the quarantine, then you can't generate all of that economic activity that is so important to anybody's continued success and thriving,” said Parker.
Parker said the other concern is a shortage of medical supplies.
“Surgical gowns, safety masks, ventilating masks, face masks, goggles, that kind of thing, as well as disinfectants. There's a run across the whole country, so it's very difficult to obtain that supplies,” said Parker.
Parker said because San Antonio has such a strong relationship with officials in Wuxi, the city government reached out to San Antonio’s Office of International Relations, who then reached out to the Alamo Asian American Chamber of Commerce.
“They asked for letters of support, as well as just names of vendors for medical supplies that they wanted to purchase and have shipped to China. And, we were happy to oblige both of those requests, but also wanted to show our support financially,” said Parker.
That’s why Parker said the Alamo Asian Chamber of Commerce created a GoFundMe account to help purchase supplies and ship them to Wuxi.
The GoFundMe account has been posted for only a few days and has already raised $16,000, but still a long way from the chamber’s goal of $50,000.
“They are just dealing with the massive challenge that this has posed. So, it's more about showing our goodwill and supporting them when they really need it,” said Parker.
He said the chamber is also reaching out to Asian business owners in San Antonio to determine if the Coronavirus has had a direct impact on business in the last month.
They’re set to hold an educational session and forum with Asian business owners and chamber members next month.
If you’d like to help with the chamber’s efforts, follow this link to the GoFundMe.