United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi has defended his decision to make a donation of medical products to the People's Republic of China, which has been hit by the fatal coronavirus, saying the super power was Malawi's major development partner.
Muluzi came under intense attack after he donated gloves and surgical masks to China to help it fight the ravaging coronavirus.
"China has been a reliable development partner for a long time and I thought of helping in a small way at the time they are facing this disease," he said.
He said it is important to be supportive of China in combating the epidemic, which represents a challenge for all.
However, social commentator Unandi Banda said Muluzi would have made the donation to the government of Malawi whose public hospitals are facing acute shortages of critical medical drugs and products.
Banda also said that the donation would have helped the government of Malawi prepare well for the coronavirus disease which has since reached South Africa.
Other Malawians in social media platforms wondered whether it was a good idea to make a donation to a super power, the second largest economy in the world.
But others said Atupele demonstrated a good spirit of "a friend in need is a friend indeed."
The corona virus is said to have been transmitted to humans from animals, particularly bats.
It has raised alarm worldwide, with cases reported across Asia, Europe, the U.S., and Canada.
Besides China, the virus has spread to more than 20 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Itale, Singapore, France, Russia, Spain, and India.