ATHENS, June 16 (Xinhua) -- China's Mammoth Foundation has donated key laboratory testing equipment for COVID-19 to Greece to assist the country's fight against the pandemic.
An online signing ceremony for the donation agreement was held on Tuesday with officials and experts by both sides applauding the Chinese charity organization's initiative as another example of true friendship and cooperation between the two nations.
The Huoyan(Fire Eye) lab core equipment developed by Chinese biotech company BGI Group was donated to the National Kapodistrian University of Athens' (NKUA) Microbiology Lab to help improve the overall detection flux.
As Greece has reopened as of Monday to tourism, the strengthening of its diagnosis capability is of critical importance, Greek Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said during the event that was hosted at NKUA's headquarters.
"The bond between the Greek people and Chinese people obviously and without a doubt has grown stronger during these difficult months," the minister said.
He added that he will never forget that he was at the Athens international airport in March when an Air China plane landed carrying the first significant aid to Greece in the battle against the coronavirus.
Many more such precious loads reached Athens in the following weeks, helping the Greek government to implement measures to save lives.
"That wouldn't have been possible, and I have to be frank and honest about that, if it wasn't for the cooperation and the solidarity and the help of China," Kikilias said.
"Now this (cooperation) is expanding with your very, very kind gesture towards the University of Athens and the laboratory... concerning the testing which evidently is very important if one takes into account that we are a country that is based economically on our tourism," said the minister.
Addressing the event, Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zhang Qiyue also expressed confidence that bilateral cooperation will expand in education and scientific research, and Sino-Greek relations will further flourish.
"We are so happy that during this process we were able to be of help," she said.
The pandemic has made clear one point, she stressed. "All of us are living in a community of shared future. We are all in this together, so we must work in cooperation."
Professor Sotirios Tsiodras, head of the COVID-19 expert team assigned by the Greek government, also commended the gesture and cooperation beyond borders.
"It is an opportunity to build solidarity amongst nations to eradicate stigma, especially among vulnerable populations and to build our response based on scientific data. This is what we tried to do in Greece following China's example," he said.
Greece has registered 3,148 confirmed cases, including 185 deaths, according to the latest official count.