Latest updates on Coronavirus

Asia and Oceania Coronavirus Watch Top Stories
  • Mongolian President in China Visit
  • Airlines resume flights to and from China
  • China’s bio-security law in the spotlight
  • COVID-19 spread outside China

By Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe

The number of confirmed Corona Virus stood at 78,824 confirmed cases by end of day on Thursday

 A total of 2,491 were still suspected of being infected with the virus while the death toll stood at 2,788.

A total of 32,495 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.

Thursday saw:

  • 327 new confirmed cases,
  • 44 deaths —- 41 were in Hubei Province, two in Beijing and one in the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, 
  • 452 new suspected cases,
  • 3,622 people were discharged from hospital after recovery. 
  • 656,054 close contacts had been traced, among which, 10,525 were discharged from medical observation Thursday, with 65,225 others still under medical observation.

By the end of Thursday, 93 confirmed cases including two deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 10 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 32 in Taiwan including one death.

According to the WHO’s situation report on 27 February, 9 new Member States (Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, and North Macedonia) reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. WHO and the World Tourism Organization released a joint statement regarding responsibility and coordination on tourism and COVID-19.  Globally there had been 82 294 confirmed (1185 new) cases, including 3664 confirmed (746 new) in 46 countries (9 new) and 57 deaths (13 new) outside China.

A total of 36,000 COVID-19 patients have been cured and discharged from hospitals, accounting for 45.9 percent of the total confirmed cases, a health official said Friday. Central China’s Hubei Province reported five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside Wuhan on Thursday, the provincial capital and the epicenter of the virus outbreak. 

Of the over 8,400 cured cases that have been analyzed, mild and common cases accounted for 90.8 percent, with severe cases taking up 7.2 percent and critical cases accounting for 2 percent.

The daily number of newly cured and discharged novel coronavirus patients on the Chinese mainland has surpassed that of new infections for the 10th consecutive day.

Mongolian President in China Visit

President Xi Jinping had talks with Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga at the Great Hall of the People on 27 February.

President Xi welcomed President Battulga to China only one day after Mongolia’s traditional Tsagaan Sar holiday and extended festive greetings to the Mongolian people. He said that as the Chinese government and people are making all-out efforts to fight the COVID-19 epidemic, we have received valuable support and assistance from the Mongolian government and people. President Battulga is the first head of state to visit China after the outbreak. This special visit, which is a show of solidarity and support, speaks volumes of the high importance the President and the Mongolian side attach to relations with China and of the profound goodwill toward the Chinese people. The kind gesture fully demonstrates the spirit of mutual assistance in difficult times shared between China and Mongolia as neighbors and I appreciate that.

Xi stressed that since the outbreak, the Chinese Communist Party and government have given top priority to epidemic control. On the basis of nation-wide mobilization, we adopted the most comprehensive, thorough and rigorous measures in no time. We set up a central leading group on outbreak response and sent a central command group to Hubei to make sure that the instructions, orders and resource allocation are coordinated at the national level and fully delivered on the ground. Thanks to the united, extraordinary efforts of the Chinese people, the positive momentum achieved in epidemic control is expanding. We have full confidence, capacity and determination to triumph over the epidemic.

Xi pointed out that China has all along been coordinating efforts to fight the outbreak on the one hand and ensure economic and social development on the other to minimize the impact of the epidemic. In light of the epidemic risk and control dynamics of different regions, we have adopted a targeted, categorized and region-specific approach in resuming work and production. Efforts have also been made to step up agricultural production in a timely way and meet people’s basic needs. With a highly resilient economy, vast domestic demand and a solid industrial foundation, we will strive to achieve the targets of economic and social development set for this year, particularly the key tasks of securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and in poverty reduction.

Xi stressed that guided by the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, China is working with a sense of responsibility both for the life and health of its own people and for global public health. With an open, transparent and responsible attitude, we have actively engaged in international cooperation against the outbreak, and our efforts have been highly recognized by the World Health Organization and the international community. China will continue to strengthen cooperation with Mongolia and other countries to effectively contain the epidemic and safeguard regional and global public health security.

President Battulga conveyed the sympathies of the government and people of Mongolia to the Chinese people over the outbreak, and expressed high admiration and appreciation for China’s people-centered approach to epidemic control, the quick speed in setting up the inter-agency taskforce, the nation-wide efforts to fight the epidemic and the positive results achieved.

Noting the comprehensive strategic partnership between Mongolia and China, President Battulga said the Mongolian people keenly feel the suffering of the Chinese people and are standing side by side with the Chinese people in this trying moment. To support China’s epidemic control endeavors, Mongolia has launched a fund-raising event themed “permanent neighbors, strong solidarity”, which has already received active responses across the country. Mongolia will also step up its donation to China with a gift of 30,000 sheep as a gesture of goodwill from the Mongolian people.

President Battulga expressed his confidence that under the strong leadership of President Xi, the Chinese people will contain the outbreak at an early date, overcome all difficulties, and achieve the set targets of social and economic development for the prosperity of the country and well-being of the people. Mongolia commends China’s commitment to amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness with neighboring countries, and stands ready to work with China to deepen political mutual trust and mutual support, enhance cooperation across sectors and push for greater progress in bilateral relations.

After the meeting, President Battulga presented to President Xi a parchment as certificate for the donation of 30,000 sheep.

Airlines resume flights to and from China

More cities in China are gradually reopening flights after the epidemic-triggered suspension and airlines have taken preventative measures to minimize the risks of infection during trips.

The northern Chinese city of Tianjin has resumed some of its domestic flights that link with cities including Xi’an, Haikou, Sanya, Urumqi, Hohhot and Chongqing and is expected to handle 72 flights per day from Feb. 27 to Feb. 29. The number will reach 244 in the first half of March.

Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, has resumed nine international cargo air routes and opened a new flight linking Beijing, Chengdu and Cario Thursday. On Friday morning, a direct air route that links Chengdu with Frankfurt was reopened after a 21-day suspension. It marks the first intercontinental direct flight that has resumed operation in southwest China since the coronavirus outbreak.

Chengdu is ready to resume more international air routes and plans to reopen 26 international flights by the end of February. Airlines across cities also provide charter flight services to ensure the safe return of workers back to their workplaces backed by a slew of epidemic prevention and control measures.

China’s bio-security law in the spotlight

Senior lawmaker said Thursday China will speed up promulgating a bio-security law and revise a raft of other laws to enhance public health legislation.

Wang Chen, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, or the top legislature, made the remarks at a meeting with the legislature’s relevant officials in charge of legislative affairs, stressing fortifying a legal defense for public health security.

“In light of the problems and shortcomings exposed in this outbreak, we must earnestly examine laws and regulations on epidemic prevention and control as well as public health,” he said. Revisions of the laws on wildlife protection and animal quarantine must be carried out step by step. In-depth studies must be done in regard to revising laws on infectious disease prevention and treatment, border health quarantine, emergency response, he said.

The draft bio-security law, now after its first reading, must be promptly revised, improved and promulgated, he added. Wang also stressed severe crackdown on violations of a top legislature’s recent decision to ban the eating of wild animals. He said the ban is vital to protect the health of the people and has won broad public support, calling for more public education to bolster law awareness among the people and promote a healthy and civilized lifestyle in society.

COVID-19 spread outside China

A surge in coronavirus cases outside China is raising concerns that the outbreak has reached a new stage and could continue its global spread to even more vulnerable countries.

On Friday, Belarus, Lithuania, New Zealand and Nigeria confirmed their first cases of the virus, taking the total number of countries with infections to more than 50. New Zealand said a citizen who recently traveled from Iran via Bali was confirmed, while Nigeria announced the first case in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the central Chinese province of Hubei, the number of cases appears to be stabilizing, according to government figures. But the number of people infected elsewhere in the world is rising quickly, with clusters in South Korea, Italy, Iran and a cruise ship docked in Japan.

South Korea: South Korea reported 256 new coronavirus cases on Friday (Feb 28), taking its total — the highest in the world outside China — to 2,022.

Japan: Japan had 919 cases of infection from the virus as of Friday.

Italy: A total of 528 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Italy, Angelo Borrelli, chief of the Civil Protection Department and extraordinary commissioner for the coronavirus emergency, said at a press conference on Thursday. The figure marked an increase of 128 cases compared to the previous day, and included 14 fatalities.

Iran: Iran’s Health Ministry on Thursday (Feb 27) confirmed seven more deaths from COVID-19, taking the total to 26, the highest toll outside China. The accumulated cases in Iran has reached 245. 

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on February 27, 2020 on COVID-19:

1). Q: You just announced Director Yang Jiechi’s upcoming visit to Japan. Does China have any expectations for the visit?

A: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Japanese government and people have lent sincere and friendly support to China, and the two sides have helped and cooperated with each other in fighting the epidemic. This shows that China and Japan, as close neighbors, stand together with mutual assistance amid difficulties, which is an epitome of friendship between the two peoples. Director Yang’s visit to Japan at this particular time fully showcases the high importance China attaches to its relations with Japan. The two sides will exchange in-depth views on China-Japan relationship, joint fight against the epidemic and other issues of mutual interest. We hope that this visit will help implement important consensus between leaders of the two countries, enhance high-level strategic communication, strengthen cooperation in epidemic response and move forward bilateral relations. 

2). Q: The COVID-19 situation in the ROK and Japan has become increasingly severe, which has attracted a lot of attention from the international community including China. Is China considering enhancing cooperation with the two countries in fighting against the epidemic together?

A: We have been closely following the developments of the epidemic in the ROK and Japan. We have received great support and help from the ROK and Japanese governments and people in our fight against the epidemic, to which we are deeply grateful, and we certainly can relate to what they are going through at the moment. As friendly, close neighbors, China, Japan and the ROK are a community with a shared future in the face of the epidemic. China will not be absent in our two neighbors’ fights against the epidemic. 

Under the current circumstance, we stand ready to improve and strengthen our emergency communication and coordination mechanism on public health and epidemic prevention with the ROK and Japan, enhance information sharing on the epidemic, exchange related experiences and technologies, and conduct cooperation on diagnosis, treatment and medicine and vaccine R&D. 

To coordinate epidemic prevention and control efforts, China is ready to work with the two countries to strengthen regulation at entry and exit points, step up inspection and quarantine, and cut down unnecessary cross-border travels. 

As the fight has come to a crucial stage at home, we still want to do as much as we can to help the ROK and Japan. “Are you not battle-dressed? Let us share armor and the rest!”. It is exactly how China, Japan and the ROK are looking after each other and tiding over difficulties together. 

3). Q: With serious epidemic spread in the ROK, will China consider offering help to the ROK? Some people in China are worried there may be importation of infected cases while some in the ROK think it’s overreaction that will hurt the emotional bond between both countries as China does not reciprocate the ROK’s kindness. I wonder if you could comment on that?

A: Virus knows no borders. In the past month or so, COVID-19 broke out in China, the ROK and other countries were worried of the disease spreading to their countries. Now as the ROK – our close neighbor – is faced with a growing number of COVID-19 cases, the Chinese people are concerned about the importation of epidemic cases. I think those worries are all understandable. But more importantly, the Chinese and ROK governments and people have demonstrated good neighborliness with mutual assistance during times of adversity. We will never forget President Moon stressing “China’s difficulties are the ROK’s difficulties”, and the fact that the ROK government and people provided us with valuable support and help. As the epidemic is becoming more severe in the ROK, we completely relate to what it is going through, and we believe the ROK’s difficulties are ours, too. China is ready to provide necessary assistance to the ROK to support its government and people in fighting the virus. We are in close communication on that. As I know, some Chinese localities and companies have provided or are ready to provide supplies to the ROK, especially those areas seriously affected by the epidemic like Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province. For instance, Qingdao of Shandong Province will donate epidemic control supplies to its sister city Daegu. The donation is under preparation and will soon be delivered to the ROK by air. 

As I said yesterday, the two sides have taken some science-based, professional and necessary measures at this stage to control unnecessary cross-border flows of people, minimize the risk of epidemic spreading and protect the safety and health of people in the two countries, the region and the world. It meets the greatest common interests of our two countries and people. As the saying goes, “After the storm comes the rainbow.” We believe the friendship between our two countries will grow deeper and bilateral exchanges and cooperation more dynamic after we overcome the epidemic hand in hand. 

4). Q: As we saw online, dozens of US Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), expressed support to Chinese community in the US and the Chinese people in a co-signed open letter amid the fallout of COVID-19 epidemic. What’s your comment?

A: I noticed the open letter. It’s so touching to see such friendship the US Jewish community cherishes towards the Chinese community in the US and the Chinese people. This is another example of friendship between the people of China and the US, and between the Chinese and Jewish peoples. We applaud them and extend our heartfelt thanks to them. 

The virus respects no borders. While infectious diseases are a common challenge facing the people of China, the US and the rest of the world, solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon in the fight against them. We will continue to work with the international community to win the battle against the COVID-19 and jointly safeguard the health and well-being of mankind. 

5). Q: China reported an infected person coming from Iran. This person traveled back from Iran to China’s Ningxia. Can you confirm that this person is a Chinese national?

A: China has been closely following the development of the epidemic situation in Iran and other countries. We stand ready to coordinate efforts with Iran and the wider international community to coordinate prevention and control efforts, share experience, enhance cooperation, take science-based, appropriate and calibrated measures to safeguard global public health security. 

As for the specific details of your question, I need to check with the competent department after the press conference. 

6). Q: There have been some reports recently that China is requiring people arriving from other countries to go into quarantine. I wonder if you could clarify why China is taking those steps when it also argues other countries should not impose similar measures on people arriving from China?

A: I noted the relevant WSJ report. The virus respects no borders. Some countries have taken measures on border entry and exit that are necessary for the purpose of epidemic prevention and control. The aim is mainly to protect the health and safety of their citizens and foreign nationals and safeguard regional and global public health security. As long as these measures are science-based, professional and appropriate, I think people will understand. We stand ready to enhance communication and cooperation with all sides to boost coordination to prevent cross-border spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and effectively safeguard regional and global public health security.