Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 28 May 2020

New England Patriots send their plane to bring over one million masks from China to US

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker had ordered 1.7 million masks from China but had no way of getting them

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has used the NFL team's airplane to bring 1.2 million protective masks from China to the United States for medical workers.

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker had earlier ordered 1.7 million masks from China but had no way of getting them from Shenzen back to Boston.

Patriots' plane – a Boeing 767 complete with images of the team's six Super Bowl trophies – flew to China, picked up the cargo until the plane was filled and departed.

"Thanks to some serious teamwork, Massachusetts is set to receive over 1 million N95 masks for our front-line workers," Baker tweeted Thursday with a photo of masks being loaded onto the plane. "Huge thanks to the Krafts and several dedicated partners for making this happen."

Another 500,000 masks that could not be loaded will be shipped and arrive next week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Issues Kraft had to overcome included upgrades to the plane for international travel and a waiver for virus quarantine that required the crew not to depart the plane while in China.

"It is an honour for our family to be a part of this humanitarian mission," Kraft said in a statement.

"We knew that purchasing greatly-needed N95 masks and providing the Patriots plane to expedite their delivery to local hospitals would immediately help protect our courageous healthcare professionals."

Updated: April 2, 2020 10:32 PM

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