The South China Morning Post has raised more than £1m to buy protective equipment for medical staff working with SARS patients in Hong Kong’s public hospitals – the biggest fundraising scheme in the paper’s 100-year history.
The paper launched its “Project Shield” appeal after complaints from medical staff that there was not enough protective gear to go round. Nearly one in four of the 1,600 people infected with the virus in Hong Kong is a medical worker. The disease has killed almost 200 people in the city since early March.
The Post launched its appeal on 25 March. It has now reached £1.3m and although it was frozen at £1.1m, the cheques keep flooding in. One hundred thousand hi-tech protective suits were last week flown in free by airline Cathay Pacific to be distributed to medical staff in 14 hospitals and millions of masks, gowns, goggles and respirators will be distributed in the coming weeks.
“The appeal has been a phenomenal success – the biggest response we’ve had to any fundraising campaign by the newspaper,” said news editor Simon Parry, who came up with the idea. “People wanted to show their appreciation for the medical workers and this was the perfect outlet.”