March 20, 2020

China ready to help others fight coronavirus

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Chinese Embassy In Zimbabwe

A total of 80,967 corona virus confirmed cases had been recorded by the end of 19 March, including 6,569 patients who were still being treated.

Suspected cases stood at 104 while the death toll was at 3 248.

A total of 71,150 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.

19 March saw:

  • 39 new confirmed cases,
  • 3 deaths —- 2 in Hubei Province, 1 in Liaoning Province,
  • 31 new suspected cases,
  • 730 people were discharged from hospital after recovery. 
  • 8,989 close contacts were still under medical observation.

On Wednesday, 1,197 people were discharged from medical observation.

By the end of 19 March, 208 confirmed cases including 4 deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 17 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 108 in Taiwan, including one death.

According to the WHO’s situation report on 19 March, 7 new countries/territories/areas (African Region[3], Eastern Mediterranean Region[1], European Region[1], and Region of the Americas[2]) have reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.  Globally there had been 209,839 confirmed (16,556 new) cases, including 8778 deaths (828 new).

As the on-going Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop, WHO continues to recommend that isolating, testing and treating every suspected case, and tracing every contact, must be the backbone of the response in every country. This is the best hope of preventing widespread community transmission.

COVID-19 a public health security risk of the whole world

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Thursday that China stands ready to work with all other countries to step up international cooperation against the COVID-19 epidemic and safeguard global public health security.

In a phone conversation in the night with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, Xi pointed out that the novel coronavirus disease broke out ferociously, and China had to rise up to the challenge and respond to it bravely.

“That is because it concerns not only the lives and health of the Chinese people, but also the public health security of the whole world, added the Chinese president.

“Thanks to arduous efforts, the situation of epidemic prevention and control in China continues to improve, with the order of production and life being restored at an increasing pace,” Xi said.

China, said the president, has the confidence, capacity and certainty to achieve the ultimate victory over the epidemic.

He added that China is willing to make concerted efforts with Russia and all other countries to tackle common threats and challenges and safeguard global public health security.

He called for closer international cooperation in epidemic prevention and control, experience sharing on containment and treatment, and facilitation of joint research.

CPC Central Committee meeting to analyse COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Wednesday chaired a leadership meeting to analyze the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic prevention and control as well as the economic development at home and abroad.

The meeting also made arrangements for coordinating the epidemic prevention and control with key work of economic and social development.

Xi made an important speech at Wednesday’s meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

The following are highlights of his remarks:

  • The positive trend in preventing and controlling the epidemic has been constantly consolidated and expanded, and the restoration of normal production and everyday life has been quickened.
  • However, new situations and problems, especially the overseas spread of the virus and its negative impacts on the world economy, have brought new challenges.
  • Work priorities and response measures should be tailored to changing situations to win the people’s war against the epidemic, and secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and fighting poverty.

Xi warned of the complexity and severity of the epidemic situations both at home and abroad.

  • The tasks of medical treatment, community prevention and control and follow-up work remain arduous in Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan.
  • The risk of outbreak rebounding still exists in other regions due to increasing personnel mobility and crowd gathering.
  • Risks of imported cases are mounting as the COVID-19 rapidly spread across the world.
  • We should never allow the hard-won and continuous positive trend to be reversed.

On international cooperation, Xi said,

  • There should be closer cooperation with the World Health Organization to strengthen the analysis and prediction of the changes in the global epidemic situation, and improvement in strategies and policies to cope with imported risks.
  • There must be strengthened exchanges and cooperation with other countries in epidemic response and pledged continuous assistance to the best of China’s ability.
  • There should be more guidance and support to Chinese nationals overseas to protect their lives and health.

The meeting demands,

  • Sound and accurate measures should be taken to contain and control the COVID-19 in key regions, and Hubei and Wuhan should proceed with the anti-virus battle with caution and win the war.
  • Intensified efforts to treat severe cases and reduce the fatality rate. Community-based epidemic control measures should be improved to increase activity space accessible to residents in neighborhoods with no infections.
  • Work resumption will gradually happen in Wuhan, while in the rest of Hubei control measures will be relaxed in an orderly manner.
  • Hubei should actively engage with other provincial-level regions to send workers back to their posts and people grounded in Hubei to their hometowns through point-to-point transportation.
  • Great importance should be attached to epidemic prevention and control in Beijing and other key regions.

On preventing the influx of infections, the meeting called for,

  • Strengthening data and information sharing as well as checks on individuals arriving from overseas.
  • The mechanism of coordinating virus prevention and control strategies with relevant countries must be improved, containment experience sharing be stepped up, and joint scientific research be promoted.

With mounting downward pressure on China’s economy, the meeting required faster establishment of an economic and social order compatible with epidemic prevention and control.

  • More work should be done to actively encourage enterprises and institutions to resume work and production in an orderly manner amid efforts to minimize losses caused by epidemic.
  • More efforts are needed to restore people’s normal work and life in full in low-risk provinces.
  • For the flow of personnel and goods between low-risk regions, necessary health certificates should be recognized nationwide, no more obstacles should be set up and no isolation measures should be taken for people with certificates.

The meeting called for strengthened research and analysis of the global economic situation and timely formation of targeted policies and measures.

  • With epidemic prevention measures well-implemented, China will provide convenience for business travel, keep the international supply chain unblocked, facilitate investment and exhibition services, and ensure that various economic and trade activities proceed normally.

China commits to supporting the EU’s epidemic fight

China stands firmly with the European Union (EU) and supports its anti-epidemic efforts, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday in a phone conversation with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

In the early days of China’s fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, EU agencies offered sympathies and coordinated multiple batches of supplies to China, Li said.

As the epidemic is spreading in EU countries, China empathizes with the EU which is in the epidemic situation and facing difficulties, Li said, adding that epidemic prevention and control have no borders.

Under the current circumstances, China stands firmly with the European side, supports its anti-epidemic efforts, and facilitates its procurement of medical supplies through commercial channels, he said, adding that China is also ready to actively carry out international cooperation to jointly protect the health of the humankind.

More measures in promotion of work resumption

Chinese authorities on Thursday required targeted measures to curb cross-border transmission of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and proactively promote work resumption in an orderly manner.

A leading group of China’s COVID-19 epidemic response convened a meeting Thursday, which was chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

The meeting called for continuous efforts for medical treatment, community-based prevention and control and follow-up work in Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan, and resolute actions to prevent the risk of virus outbreak rebounding in other regions.

Imported COVID-19 cases in China are increasing as the epidemic rapidly spread across the world, leading to growing pressure in epidemic containment, the meeting noted, demanding strengthened international coordination and cooperation to improve epidemic prevention and control on international flights.

The meeting required tailoring gate position, boarding bridges, and passes for all flights from hard-hit regions overseas, and carrying out health inspections at designated areas to minimize the risk of cross-infection.

It called for the timely transfer, treatment and quarantine measures for confirmed or suspected patients and close contacts, adding that people who report false information or conceal infection will be investigated in accordance with the law.

The meeting also demanded suspension of land passenger transportation from overseas and improving the management of waterway passenger transportation from overseas.

Areas with the major risk of imported cases should strengthen the preparation for treatment, including supply for medicines and protective materials, designated hospitals, and isolation wards, according to the meeting.

The meeting required issuing warnings on cross-border personnel mobility and suspending inbound and outbound tours.

Guidance and support to Chinese nationals overseas should be strengthened to protect their lives and health, said the meeting, pledging continuous assistance to other countries to the best of China’s ability.

The meeting also called for sharing epidemic containment experience and facilitating related countries to purchase medical materials from China.

Noting that most regions in China have been low-risk regions in terms of virus spread, the meeting underscored efforts to restore people’s normal work and life in full in low-risk provincial regions.

Health certificates should be recognized nationwide, and obstacles for personnel and goods flow across low-risk areas should be eliminated, said the meeting, requiring no quarantine for people from low-risk areas before resuming work.

The capacity for emergency response should be preserved to properly handle new confirmed COVID-19 patients, the meeting stressed.

Wuhan reports zero new infections

No new infections of the novel coronavirus were reported on Wednesday in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, marking a notable first in the city’s months-long battle with the virus and sending a message of hope to a world grappling with the pandemic.

The Health Commission of Hubei Province, where Wuhan is the capital, said the virus’ death toll climbed by eight in the province, but the total confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan and Hubei remained at 50,005 and 67,800 on Wednesday.

No increase was observed in the province’s number of suspected cases, which fell to zero on Tuesday, in another indication that large-scale transmissions have been suppressed at the epidemic epicenter after a slew of strict measures.

Xenophobic comments to disgrace China receive widespread criticism

The recent re-labeling of the novel coronavirus with xenophobic undertones by some U.S. politicians to stigmatize China has drawn widespread criticism.

As the international community works together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a few American politicians are shifting blame to China for the virus’ spread by recasting it as a “Chinese virus” or “foreign virus.”

Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, warned on Wednesday against using the phrase “Chinese virus,” saying that “Viruses know no borders, and they don’t care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank.”

“So it’s really important we be careful in the language we use,” Ryan said at a news conference in Geneva, giving an example of the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009.

“The pandemic “originated in North America and we didn’t call it the North American flu,” he said, calling for solidarity and joint efforts of all countries.

Ryan was echoed by co-founder of Microsoft Corporation Bill Gates, who wrote on Wednesday in an Ask Me Anything session on the American social news platform Reddit that “we should not call this the Chinese virus.”

The tally of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 pandemic has reached over 220,000 and spans at least 160 countries and regions, according to the latest statistics from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

With the world facing an escalating challenge from the disease, “it’s also an unprecedented opportunity to come together as one against a common enemy,” the WHO wrote on its Twitter feed on Wednesday.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday refuted the White House’s racist remarks on Twitter, saying that “coronavirus does not discriminate.”

China, Japan and South Korea united against Covid-19

A special meeting via videoconference on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was held Friday among the foreign ministers of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

The meeting was initiated by the Chinese side and attended by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, ROK Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

Wang said the holding of the special meeting via videoconference on COVID-19 demonstrated the firm determination of the three countries to join hands to overcome difficulties in the face of major challenges and their positive willingness to work together to fight the epidemic and maintain normal exchanges and cooperation.

Faced with the outbreak, China, Japan and the ROK helped each other during testing times, writing a moving chapter of “Though miles apart, we are under the same sky,” Wang said.

Noting the ROK and Japan helped China as soon as possible at the beginning of the outbreak, Wang said the Chinese government and people, reciprocating this kindness, also provided the utmost assistance and support to their neighbors.

Citing China, Japan and the ROK are close neighbors linked by the sea, with deeply intertwined interests and close people-to-people exchanges, Wang said strengthening cooperation and tiding over difficulties together is an inevitable choice for the three countries.

China looks forward to sharing its experience in fighting the epidemic with the ROK and Japan through this meeting, strengthening policy communication and reaching a valuable consensus on cooperation, he added.

Other video conferences unite medical experts

Chinese medical experts held a video conference call with their foreign counterparts on Wednesday, sharing with them China’s experience in combating the coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese experts all came from Zhongda Hospital of Southeast University, which is located in eastern Chinese city of Nanjing. Some of them are currently working in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Their foreign counterparts came from 32 medical institutions in seven countries, namely Spain, Greece, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Britain and the United States.

“We underwent a tough time over the past two months in Wuhan,” Qiu Haibo, vice director of Zhongda, said from Wuhan. “Fortunately, the situation here is getting better, and more and more patients have been discharged.”

“We would like offer our help to you by sharing Chinese experience in combating the virus,” Qiu, who is also a member of the expert team of the National Health Commission, told his foreign counterparts.

During the conference call, foreigner experts inquired about a wide range of issues concerning the outbreak, including the optimal plan for screening patients, methods of preventing infections of medics and the criteria for discharging patients.

“We hope China’s experience over the past two months can help foreign countries avoid the pitfalls in their fight against the outbreak,” said Yang Yi, an intensive care expert.

Chinese Vice Premier calls for maximum effort to treat all patients

Leading a central government group to oversee the epidemic control work in Hubei Province, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan made a call for all-out efforts to treat every patient infected with the novel coronavirus. This was while inspecting Tongji Hospital located in the provincial capital city of Wuhan, the hardest-hit city in China, on Thursday.

During her visit, Sun spoke with doctors and nurses of local hospitals via a video link, noting that they are facing even greater challenges to treat patients, in particular those in severe conditions, at the crucial stage.

Sun called for efforts to mobilize more advanced medical resources to rescue the patients and combat the coronavirus, stressing multidisciplinary diagnosis and treatment, as well as a combination of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine.

By Wednesday, China had seen a total of 70,420 patients discharged from hospital after recovery. Nationwide, 7,263 patients were still being treated, with 2,314 in severe condition. Most of them are in Wuhan.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang’s Regular Press Conference on March 18 and 19, 2020 on COVID-19:

Q: As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads all over the world, many countries have requested help from China. Can you share any information on China’s medical assistance to other countries? Any specific numbers or categories, perhaps?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly spread to multiple countries. While making all-out efforts to combat it at home, China is actively engaging in international cooperation and providing as much help as possible to other countries and international organizations. This is how we fulfill our international responsibilities and consolidate earlier medical progress.

As I know, the Chinese government has delivered medical supplies to Pakistan, Laos, Thailand, Iran, the ROK, Japan and the African Union, donated $20 million to the WHO, and announced assistance to be delivered to dozens of countries including Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Serbia, the EU, Cambodia, the Philippines, Egypt, South Africa, Iraq, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Cuba and Chile. We also support countries’ procurement of medical supplies made in China. Our local governments, enterprises and civil institutions also made donations to other countries.

Besides, China is sharing our medical know-how with the world by sending healthcare professionals to Iran, Iraq, Italy and other countries, and holding video conferences with other countries and international organizations.

“You throw a peach to me, and I give you a white jade for friendship.” It is China’s traditional virtue to repay goodwill with greater kindness. We will never forget the political support from the international community during our hardest times, as well as the medical supplies we received from 79 countries and 10 international organizations. We will strengthen cooperation with other countries in response to the COVID-19 challenge and together build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Q: Utah State Legislature passed a concurrent resolution, celebrating friendly ties with China and expressing the legislature and governor’s support to the Chinese people and their efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Do you have any comment?

A: We commend this resolution passed by Utah Senate and House of Representatives in support of Chinese people’s fight against COVID-19. You may have watched the online video of elementary school students in Utah singing to cheer on China and Wuhan, which is widely applauded. All this is a touching display of friendship cherished by the Utah people towards the Chinese people.

Since the epidemic broke out, US states and cities including California, Indiana, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Maryland, Utah, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Georgia, Hawaii, New York, Boston, Los Angeles have expressed sympathies and support for Chinese provinces and cities. American businesses, institutions and people have also donated money and supplies to China. Now as the pandemic is spreading in the US, in the same vein, Chinese businesses and civil societies are also supporting American people’s epidemic response.

Pandemic respects no borders and calls for a concerted response. We will continue to work with the international community, including the United States, to strengthen communication and cooperation and jointly address the challenges with all-out efforts to safeguard global public health security.

Q: COVID-19 has spread to more than 160 countries and regions. The number of confirmed cases worldwide has surpassed 180,000. All 27 members of the EU have succumbed to it. More than 20 African countries have seen confirmed cases. The situation is really very dire around the world. In your view, how should we cope with the challenge that this pandemic is now posing to the global public health security?

A: COVID-19 is spreading at such a fast speed that the situation now is alarming. It is no longer the battle of one country or one city. It is now a battle for all with global public health security, mankind’s health and well-being and world development and prosperity at stake. There is simply no second to be wasted any more. The urgency of the matter impels the international community to take up responsibility, jump into action, forge strong lines of defense, and fight together to protect global and regional public health security.

First, we need to follow the concept of building a community of a shared future for mankind. Healthy lives for all is a common aspiration, which should also be an important part of the collective efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind. A global public health crisis reveals more than anything that our future is intertwined and interdependent, and global cooperation against this pandemic has demonstrated vividly that the human society is making the right choice by building a community of a shared future for mankind to cope with this crisis. Faced with global threats such as a communicable disease, ensuring the health of people in one country is in itself a contribution to global public health security, and helping others is in a way helping yourself. All countries should choose solidarity, reason and action over disagreement, prejudice and procrastination, and work together to tide over the tough times.

Second, we need to implement the health-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In translating these commitments into practical actions and thus achieving these health targets, governments have the primary responsibility. They should work on strengthening the prevention and treatment of major communicable diseases, ensuring fair and accessible health care services, and realizing health coverage for all. Meanwhile, the international community should help prop up those countries with severe infections or fragile health systems, developing countries in particular, and plug the loopholes in the regional public health security networks, thus making the global networks stronger and more secure. Developed countries should lead such actions and make concrete contributions in this regard.

Third, we need to strengthen global public health governance. The COVID-19 outbreak has laid bare inadequacies in the global public health governance and highlighted the urgency to buttress the system. We support the core role of the UN and WHO in responding to public health emergencies and in improving global public health governance mechanism and putting public health issues at a more prominent place on the international agenda. We call on the international community to work together to build a global prevention and control system to ensure public health security, improve epidemic monitoring, early warning, information sharing and emergency responding mechanisms, implement major international health projects, and make positive efforts to build a health Silk Road.

We hope this pandemic can bring us greater solidarity, trust, international health cooperation and better global governance in the public health sector. China will continue to cooperate with the international community and contribute the Chinese wisdom and strength to better addressing global challenges and promoting the health and well-being of all mankind.

Q: You announced on Tuesday a video conference with healthcare specialists from African countries. How did the meeting go? Is the outcome of the meeting up to expectations?

A: On March 18, China held an online video conference with nearly 300 officials and healthcare specialists from the Africa CDC and 24 African countries. The conference lasted three and a half hours and achieved good results.

Chinese experts detailed the trend and features of the pandemic and shared China’s experience and practices in epidemic control and clinical treatment. They also gave thorough answers to almost 50 questions from the African side.

The African officials and specialists considered this video conference timely, professional and effective. They spoke highly of China’s effective battle against the pandemic and important contributions to global public health security. They stressed that China’s experience and practices are exemplary and have set standards for African countries’ response. They will continue to strengthen cooperation with China and fight together to win the battle against the pandemic.

Going forward, while continuing to strengthen epidemic control at home, we will share all we know about the pandemic with African countries, and do our best to support and help these countries and regional organizations in accordance with their needs. Together we will strive for an early victory against the disease and protect regional and global public health security.

Q: Saudi Arabia, as the rotating chair of G20 nations, proposed to convene a video conference for G20 leaders to address the challenges posed by COVID-19. What is your comment?

A: As the pandemic spreads in many parts of the world, it has triggered public health crisis in multiple countries, leading to serious economic, financial and social impacts. At this critical juncture, the world’s major economies, while doing epidemic prevention and control at home, should step up policy coordination and international cooperation to jointly tackle the pandemic and maintain world economic stability.

As the premier forum for international economic cooperation and an important platform in response to global crisis, the G20 should promote partnership of mutual assistance and play a leading role in combating the pandemic and stabilizing the economy. G20 countries need to coordinate actions, send positive messages of solidarity and cooperation to overcome difficulties, safeguard the health and well-being of people in all countries, boost confidence in the international market, and work to ensure strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the world economy.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, with the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, China has been actively participating in international cooperation while doing its best to combat the virus domestically. China will continue working with the international community through the G20 and other platforms to contribute the Chinese wisdom and Chinese proposals for better response to global public health security challenges and for the common interests of all mankind.

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