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Patriots plane ferries critical masks from China to US

  • In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, the New England Patriots customized Boeing 767 jet rests on the tarmac at T.F. Green Airport, in Warwick, R.I. The Patriots private team plane is expected to land in Boston on Thursday, returning from China with more than one million masks to help control the spread of the coronavirus. AP File

  • In this Friday, March 27, 2020 photo, photographer Jen Bauer arranges the Bates family for a portrait as part of the Front Steps Project in North Andover, Mass. With many families housebound during the coronavirus pandemic, photographers are raising money for local charities by offering portraits from a distance. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • In this Friday, March 27, 2020 photo, photographer Jen Bauer programs a navigation app to find her next subject for the Front Steps Project in North Andover, Mass. With many families housebound during the coronavirus pandemic, photographers are raising money for local charities by offering portraits from a distance. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • In this Saturday, March 28, 2020 photo, Front Steps Project organizers Jen and Kendra Bauer, and their children, from left, Evan, Addie and Kate pose for a portrait in North Andover, Mass. With many families housebound during the coronavirus pandemic, photographers are raising money for local charities by offering portraits from a distance. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • In this Saturday, March 28, 2020 photo, Front Steps Project organizers Jen and Kendra Bauer, and their children, from left, Addie, Evan and Kate pose for a portrait in North Andover, Mass. With many families housebound during the coronavirus pandemic, photographers are raising money for local charities by offering portraits from a distance. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • In this Wednesday, April 1, 2020 photo, the housebound family of Jessica and Zach O'Neil and their daughters, Hadley, 3, and Mckenna, 6, pose for the Front Steps Project in North Andover, Mass. With many families at home during the coronavirus pandemic, photographers are raising money for local charities by offering portraits from a distance. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • In this Friday, March 27, 2020 photo, Dean and Laura Bates laugh with their sons Colton, left, and Jackson, as they pose for the Front Steps Project in North Andover, Mass. With many families housebound during the coronavirus pandemic, photographers are raising money for local charities by offering portraits from a distance. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • In this Friday, March 27, 2020 photo, photographer Jen Bauer, reflected in door glass at top left, shoots a portrait of the Mackin family for the Front Steps Project in North Andover, Mass. With many families housebound during the coronavirus pandemic, photographers are raising money for local charities by offering portraits from a distance. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • A customer leaves the Market Basket supermarket in South Attleboro, Mass. Thursday, April 2, 2020. Market Basket has instituted new protocols in their stores to allow more distancing between customers amid the growing coronavirus pandemic. The stores are limiting the number of customers shopping at one time depending on the size of the store with only one designated entrance and exit monitored by store associates. (Mark Stockwell/The Sun Chronicle via AP) MARK STOCKWELL

Associated Press
Published: 4/2/2020 5:33:16 PM
Modified: 4/2/2020 5:33:05 PM

BOSTON — The New England Patriots private team plane is expected to return to Boston from China on Thursday carrying more than 1 million masks critical to health care providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers but had no way of getting them to the U.S. Baker said at an afternoon press conference that an earlier order for 3 million masks had been confiscated at the Port of New York.

The team stepped into help.

In an interview with Patriots.com radio Thursday, Kraft Sports and Entertainment chief operating officer Jim Nolan said the Chinese government officially didn’t sign off on the trip until March 27. He said the hurdles included legal logistics that were only cleared thanks to cooperation involving multiple state, U.S. and international entities.

“I think it is the biggest work challenge I have had in my 24 years with the Kraft family,” Nolan said.

As part of the deal, Nolan said the Patriots received permission to land in China and got a waiver of a 14-day quarantine because the pilots didn’t get off the plane.

“Thanks to some serious teamwork, Massachusetts is set to receive over 1 million N95 masks for our front-line workers,” Baker tweeted Thursday. “Huge thanks to the Krafts and several dedicated partners for making this happen.”

Baker said some masks will be going to New York and Rhode island.

The story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.




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