Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has asked the European Union to help China procure medical supplies, according to a Chinese government statement.

China is struggling to control the novel coronavirus outbreak. Its health system is on its knees, running out of beds and supplies.

Li spoke to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on the phone, the statement said, and is hoping to buy the supplies from EU member countries “through commercial channels.”

“And we are willing to strengthen information, policy and technical exchanges and to cooperate with international communities including EU,” Li said, according to the statement.

It added:

Li Keqiang said the Chinese government has always put people’s safety and health as first priority and is working to prevent and control the epidemic in a transparent and orderly manner. The current job is to curb the spreading of epidemic and to treat the patients, as well as guarantee the normal life order of Chinese people and foreigners in China.

The statement added that von der Leyen said the EU will try its best and coordinate all necessary resources to provide assistance to China.

China needs more medical supplies.
China needs more medical supplies. Photo: JONATHAN KLEIN/AFP via Getty Images