March 12, 2020 / 1:37 PM / 18 days ago

SoftBank's Son offers to donate face masks after coronavirus test kit offer slammed

FILE PHOTO: Japan's SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son on Thursday tweeted an offer to donate a million free face masks to help fight the coronavirus outbreak a day after twitter users criticized his proposal to give away test kits as an unnecessary burden on clinics and hospitals.

“I will donate a million masks,” Son tweeted in reply to a suggestion from one person, who identified themselves as a dentist in Kobe western Japan.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted The SoftBank Group chief executive, who has 2.4 million followers, to begin tweeting after a three-year hiatus from the social network.

The coronavirus has infected more than 126,000 people and killed 4,624, according to a Reuters tally.

Almost 1,400 of those cases are in Japan, where 22 people have died, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Tim Kelly; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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