China allocates US$2.45 billion to Coronavirus treatment

Asia and Oceania Coronavirus Watch

By the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe

By the end of Wednesday, there had been 74,576 confirmed cases; 4,922 were suspected of being infected with the virus, and 2,118 deaths.

A total of 16,155 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.

Wednesday saw 394 new confirmed cases, 114 deaths: 108 were in Hubei Province and one in Hebei, Shanghai, Fujian, Shandong, Yunnan and Shaanxi, respectively. There were also 1,277 new suspected cases, and 1,779 people were discharged from hospital after recovery. 

589,163 close contacts had been traced, among which, 25,318 were discharged from medical observation Monday, with 126,363 others still under medical observation.

By the end of Tuesday, 65 confirmed cases including one death had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 10 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 24 in Taiwan.

According to the World Health Organisation’s situation report on 19 February, in the previous 24 hours, no new country reported cases of COVID-19. Globally there had been 75,204 confirmed (1,872 new) cases, including 924 confirmed (120 new) cases in 25 countries and 3 deaths outside China.

On February 20, the China-ASEAN Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on fighting the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was held in Vientiane, Laos. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the meeting.

The meeting began with a video of how Chinese people are united as one in fighting the epidemic. The video also includes scenes of the ten ASEAN country leaders showing care and support for China.

Wang Yi and the ten foreign ministers of ASEAN countries held hand in hand to express their support for China and specifically for Wuhan.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi: Winter is not That Cold with Friendship and Support from Our Friends

On 19 February, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made impromptu remarks at the welcoming dinner of the Special China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and the fifth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane, Laos.

Wang Yi highlighted the unusual significance of the gathering at a time when the Chinese people are making united efforts to control the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). He said that the Chinese nation has not flinched in the face of the sudden attack and the rapid spread of the virus, still less will the country be defeated by it. Under the personal guidance of President Xi Jinping, the 1.4 billion Chinese people are united as one, and a nationwide mechanism to mobilize resources from across the country has been set up to win this all-out, people’s war against the epidemic.

Wang Yi pointed out that thanks to China’s extraordinary efforts, the situation is changing on the ground. Although Hubei and Wuhan remain the hardest hit area, the outbreak there has been brought under effective control. And there is heartening news from across China outside Hubei. For instance, new confirmed cases have been on a decline for 15 days running and the number of cured and discharged cases has been rising steadily. As of yesterday, more than 14,000 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital. Yesterday was of great significance, as for the first time, the number of cured and discharged cases surpassed that of new confirmed cases. These figures indicate a turnaround and show that, ferocious as it may be, the epidemic is controllable and curable. In fact, mankind has evolved through constant struggle against viruses and epidemics. Likewise, China has emerged stronger in the course of overcoming various trials and tribulations. China has the confidence and determination to defeat the epidemic at an early date.

Wang said that the virus is the common enemy of mankind and requires a collective response from the international community. China is not fighting the epidemic alone. Instead, it has the understanding and support of countries across the world. So far, leaders of over 160 countries and 30-plus international organizations had sent letters or messages to express their firm support for China.

Wang noted that China and ASEAN are close neighbors connected by mountains and rivers. Just like the Lancang River and the Mekong River, they are a family and a community with a shared future. Friends from ASEAN countries have stood firmly with China from the very beginning. Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia changed his schedule and made a point to visit China, proving with his actions that a friend in need is a friend indeed. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand made a video personally to demonstrate Thailand’s deep friendship with China. Many people in the region, like some local police in Indonesia and singers from Malaysia, have shown their support to the Chinese people in various ways. Vietnam, as the chair of ASEAN, issued a Chairman’s statement on ASEAN’s collective response to COVID-19 to express full support for China, which represents the common aspiration of all ASEAN countries. Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith of Laos made extraordinary arrangements in such a short time for tomorrow’s two important meetings. The Philippines, as the country coordinator for China-ASEAN relations, did a lot of coordination work within ASEAN. In fact, all ASEAN friends have made their share of contributions to tomorrow’s meetings.

Wang said that the friendly sentiments of ASEAN and the international community as a whole have boosted China’s confidence in prevailing over the epidemic, making the people in China feel that the winter is not that cold and spring will come soon. He shared his confidence in the success of the upcoming meetings. The meetings will not only advance the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) and help build an LMC economic development belt, but also send a clear and firm message to the world about China and ASEAN working together to fight the epidemic, protect people’s health, and promote regional health security. He expressed his belief that emerging from the test of the epidemic, China’s relations with ASEAN and its member countries will become even stronger.

Third MFA Briefing on Epidemic Control for Diplomatic Missions in China

On the afternoon of 19 February, Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu hosted the third briefing on the epidemic control of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for diplomatic missions in China. The briefing was held online and attended by diplomatic envoys and representatives of more than 180 diplomatic missions. Ma provided updates on the epidemic and China’s response measures. The Foreign Affairs Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality briefed the participants on the latest containment measures concerning foreigners returning to Beijing during the epidemic, which were closely followed by the diplomatic missions. The Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges of the Ministry of Education and relevant departments of the Foreign Ministry answered questions on work related to foreign students and foreign nationals in China.

Ma said, with General Secretary Xi Jinping personally instructing and directing the epidemic response, the Chinese government and people are united as one in fighting the outbreak, and clear results have been produced. WHO noted that China’s robust and effective measures have curbed the spread of the virus both inside China and to other countries. In a show of support and sympathy to China, leaders of over 150 countries and 30-plus international organizations including the United Nations have written to Chinese leaders. The African Union, ASEAN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS have issued statements expressing solidarity and sympathy. Donations from various countries and international organizations have arrived in Wuhan. The China-WHO joint expert team has started its work in China.

Ma stressed that the Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety, health and well-being of foreign nationals in China. The Foreign Ministry and other competent authorities have directed relevant local departments to do their level best to address difficulties encountered by foreign nationals. First, China has enhanced information disclosure. Second, China has worked to guarantee the daily needs of foreign nationals. Third, China has been doing its utmost to treat foreign patients. Fourth, China has worked to ensure sound services for international students, taking care of them the way it cares for its own children.

The Chinese side answered questions from the diplomatic envoys and representatives on the requirements for foreign nationals visiting Beijing during the epidemic, on measures to help international students in China, and on visas and scholarships.

The diplomatic envoys and representatives participating in the briefing thanked the Foreign Ministry for holding the third briefing, and expressed their readiness to step up cooperation with China and to support China in defeating the epidemic at an early date.

China’s medical insurance organs have allocated 17.179 billion yuan (2.45 billion U.S. dollars) of funds for medical institutions dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday.

A total of 3.016 billion yuan of funds has been earmarked for Hubei Province and 902 million yuan for its capital city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. The funds, intended to relieve financial pressures on medical institutions, can meet the current demands for treating the disease, according to National Healthcare Security Administration.

All the 10 foreign nationals infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in south China’s Guangdong Province have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, officials said.

No new confirmed or suspected cases of foreigners have been reported as of 12:00 p.m., Wednesday in Guangdong, according to a press briefing of the provincial government Thursday.

The first foreign patient with the virus was reported on Jan. 16 in the province. Altogether 29 foreigners in China had been infected with the novel coronavirus as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary-general of the State Council, said at a press briefing Thursday in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic in central China’s Hubei Province.

The combination of traditional Chinese and Western medicine in treating COVID-19 is proved effective, said Yu Yanhong, an official with the National Health Commission, at a video press conference Thursday.

The method can rapidly improve the condition of patients with mild symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, weakness and lack of appetite, and cut the duration of hospital stays, said Yu, who is also the deputy head of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Experts also find that the combination can help prevent mild symptoms from developing into severe and critical conditions, thus reducing the death rate of the disease, she noted.

Patients of COVID-19 will have their treatment payments covered by medical insurance and fiscal funds, according to China’s National Healthcare Security Administration (NHSA).

Patients both confirmed and suspected of being infected with the virus shall receive treatment before settlement, Xiong Xianjun, an official with the NHSA, said at a press conference Thursday in Beijing.

The payment will be covered by basic medical insurance, major disease insurance and medical assistance while the rest will be subsidized by fiscal funds, said Xiong, noting that those who are treated outside of their place of residence will not be limited by the reimbursement policy.

Medical insurances have temporarily covered medicines and medical services involved in the COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment plan formulated by the National Health Commission. In addition, medical insurance funds for treating COVID-19 can enjoy fast tracks in appropriation and settlement.

China will adopt multiple measures to further protect its medical workers as they fight on the frontline and expose themselves to dangers amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a press conference Thursday.

The National Health Commission will ensure strict implementation of infection prevention requirements for medical workers, and guide medical institutions to better implement related regulations and standards, said Wang Guiqiang with the Chinese Medical Association at the press conference held by the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council.

Efforts will be made to ensure the supply of medical protective gear and their proper use, as well as to better monitor and report the health conditions of medical workers, according to Wang.

Treatments for infected medical workers will also be strengthened to minimize the risk of mortality and better benefits such as allowance will be offered to medics, Wang said.

The following is Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang’s Daily Briefing Online on February 19, 2020 on COVID-19:

Q: Russia will temporarily suspend from February 20 the entry of some Chinese citizens to the country amid the threat of the spread of coronavirus infection. What’s China’s comment on this decision?

A: Russia has informed China in advance through diplomatic channels of the above-mentioned measures against the NCP. It also stressed its firm support for and strong confidence in China. The restrictive measures, taken as part of its prevention and control efforts, are only temporary. This is not a total ban on personnel exchange. Once the situation improves, they will be adjusted before being lifted finally. In addition, for groups affected by the restrictions, such as Chinese students unable to return for their studies, the Russian side will take a series of measures such as online courses to ensure the curricular plans will be completed.

Russia and China are each other’s biggest neighbour. We are closely following the measures Russia has taken in response to this epidemic. Russia has repeatedly expressed support and offered a large amount of assistance to us. The two countries are comprehensive strategic partners of coordination for a new era. We hope and believe that Russia and the international community will continue to show firm support to China, assess the epidemic situation in an objective and rational way, and adjust restrictive measures at an early date to avoid any disturbance to normal personnel exchanges and cooperation in various fields.