‘Coronavirus shows positive trend on the Chinese mainland’

Asia and Oceania Coronavirus Watch

26 provinces resume inter-provincial road passenger transport

President Xi rallies nation to “care about” medical workers

Business in world’s second-largest economy has gradually recovered

By the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe

By the end of Thursday, there had been 75,465 confirmed cases. 5,209 were suspected of being infected with the virus and there were 2,236 deaths,

A total of 18,264 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.

Thursday saw 889 new confirmed cases, 118 deaths: 115 were in Hubei Province and one in Zhejiang, Chongqing and Yunnan. There were 1,614 new suspected cases, and 2,109 people were discharged from hospital after recovery. 

606,037 close contacts had been traced, among which, 28,804 were discharged from medical observation Thursday, with 120,302 others still under medical observation.

By the end of Thursday, 68 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 20 February, in the previous 24 hours, one new country (Islamic Republic of Iran) reported one case of COVID-19. Globally, there had been 75,748 confirmed (548 new) cases, including 1 073 confirmed (149 new) cases in 26 countries (one new) and eight deaths (five new) outside China.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has shown positive trend on the Chinese mainland, an official with the National Health Commission (NHC) said Friday.

Figures, including new confirmed cases across the country, new confirmed cases outside Hubei Province and new confirmed cases in Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak, as well as in other places of Hubei, have all been dropping gradually. The number of newly recovered patients has been rising rapidly, surpassing that of new confirmed infections for the third consecutive day.

Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, has recently made an important instruction on protecting and caring about the medical workers engaged in the fight against the epidemic.

He stressed that medical workers are the backbone in defeating the disease. It is critical to protect them, care about them, and give them full support so that they can stay strong and healthy and focus on fighting the epidemic with full energy and high spirit.

Xi reiterated the need of well-planned and effective command and control and sound logistical support for medical workers. Greater efforts must be made in a timely manner to ease their stress, provide them with basic necessities, and ensure that they get necessary rest and strong moral support.

No effort must be spared to ensure that medical teams in Hubei and Wuhan can carry out their work in a safe, orderly, coordinated, effective and swift manner.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said countries of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) will work together to tide over the difficult times amid an outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

He made the remarks at a joint press conference with Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith at the conclusion of the fifth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Thursday.

The ministerial meeting, which was held amid the COVID-19 epidemic outbreak, demonstrated the Lancang-Mekong cooperation of sincerity, mutual assistance and affinity, Wang said.

It also showed that the LMC countries are sharing their weal and woe, he added, believing that the LMC countries will work together to tide over the difficult times.

“We are confident that through concerted efforts we will win the battle against the COVID-19 epidemic and safeguard the health and safety of people along the Lancang-Mekong river,” Wang said.

The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Friday that China still has advantages in attracting overseas investment as the impacts of the ongoing novel coronavirus epidemic would not be lasting.

The outbreak has not undermined the confidence of most multinationals in investing in China, nor has altered their investment strategy, Zong Changqing, director of the Department of Foreign Investment Administration of MOC, told an online press conference.

The government is “confident and determined” to stabilise foreign investment this year, Zong said. Foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland saw a steady year-on-year increase of 4 percent last month, compared with a growth of 4.8 percent registered in January 2019.

“The impacts of the outbreak on foreign investment have begun to show, and are expected to become greater in February and March,” he said.

As China goes all out to contain the coronavirus outbreak, authorities have stressed efforts to help foreign-funded companies resume production and operation in an orderly manner.

A MOC circular last week stressed support for large foreign investment projects, calling for coordinated efforts to solve their difficulties and minimise the impacts of the epidemic.

Thanks to unremitting efforts, business activity has gradually recovered in the world’s second-largest economy. Data showed that 32 auto parts factories invested by the Republic of Korea in eastern China’s Shandong Province had all resumed production as of February 15, in a move to stabilise the global supply chains. Over 80 percent of foreign-funded companies in Shanghai, Shandong and Hunan have already returned to business so far.

Zong said foreign-invested firms in most places are expected to resume production by the end of this month. The ministry will guide local governments to help foreign-invested companies make full use of support policies, strengthen the protection of their legitimate rights and interests, widen market access for foreign capital and further improve the business environment.

Chinese provinces and cities with a low risk of the novel coronavirus epidemic will fully resume public transport services that were previously suspended amid the epidemic control efforts, a transport official said Friday.

Public transport services, including road passenger transport, bus, rail transit and taxis will be fully resumed in regions with a low epidemic risk. As of Thursday, 26 provinces have resumed inter-provincial road passenger transport and 30 provinces have resumed intra-provincial road passenger transport.

Ground public transportation service in 40 cities has not been interrupted, while 78 prefecture-level cities and 90 county-level cities have resumed ground public transportation operation. In areas with a high epidemic risk, efforts should be made to meet the needs of travel for medical workers, public utilities workers and vulnerable groups before the full resumption of public transport.

The following is Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang’s Daily Briefing Online (February 20, 2020 on COVID-19):

Q: ROK’s new Consul-General to Wuhan Kang Seung-seok has already arrived to assume office. Considering the ongoing epidemic there, do you have anything to say on this?

A: The newly-appointed ROK Consul-General to Wuhan Mr. Kang Seung-seok arrived in the early hours today aboard a chartered plane carrying donated medical supplies from his country. We welcome Mr. Kang and will do everything we can to facilitate his work.

As the fight against the epidemic in China enters a crucial stage, the ROK arrangement showcases the great importance it attaches to bilateral relations and its support for China. Domestic media says that CG Kang is a contrarian. I think this is quite fitting.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, President Moon Jae-in and other ROK politicians have said that as close neighbors, we should help and support each other in times of difficulty. The ROK will spare no efforts in assisting and coordinating with China to counter this challenge. The ROK Embassy in China put up a banner saying “we take China’s difficulty as ours”. Seoul’s landmark buildings are lit up with the words “Stay strong, Wuhan and China”. These are strong messages that the ROK stands together with China. The ROK government and people from all walks of life have made generous donations. Many contacted the Chinese Embassy there to do so. We are deeply touched by this enormous outpouring of compassion during this challenging time.

I believe there is a saying in the ROK to the effect that “the earth becomes more solid once it dries after a heavy rain”. The epidemic will only bring the Chinese people closer. We are confident that under the strong leadership of the Chinese government and with the strong support of the international community including the ROK, the Chinese people will surely win this fight at an early date. The friendship and mutual trust between China and the ROK will also be consolidated as we work together to prevail over this epidemic.