Coronavirus Watch | A call for global unity

Asia and Oceania Coronavirus Watch Top Stories
  • Britain, China express support for WHO Covid-19 fight
  • China ready to work with France in better global health governance
  • Egypt’s fight against Covid-19
  • Coronavirus | A call for global unity
  • China tightens borders
  • ‘I have never and would never call Covid-19 a China virus’
  • Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang’s Regular Press Conference on March 23, 2020 on COVID-19

By the end of 23 March there had been 81,171 confirmed cases, including 4,735 patients who were still being treated, 427 confirmed cases are imported cases from aboard, 132 were still suspected of being infected with the virus, 3,277 deaths.

A total of 73,159 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.

23 March saw:

  • 78 new confirmed cases, 74 of them are imported cases from aboard,
  • 7 deaths —- all in Hubei Province,
  • 35 new suspected cases,
  • 456 people were discharged from hospital after recovery. 
  • 12,077 close contacts were still under medical observation. On Monday, 769 people were discharged from medical observation.

By the end of 23 March, 356 confirmed cases including 4 deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 25 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 196 in Taiwan, including 2 deaths.

According to the WHO’s situation report on 23 March, 3 new countries/territories/areas (African Region [1], Region of the Americas [1], and Eastern Mediterranean Region [1]) have reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.  Globally there had been 332,930 confirmed (40,788 new) cases, including 14,510 deaths (1,727 new).

As the on-going Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop, WHO call on all countries to test every suspected case, isolate and care for every confirmed case, and trace and quarantine every close contact.

Britain, China express support for WHO Covid-19 fight

Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke over phone on Monday night and voiced support for the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi extended sincere sympathies to the British government and people over their fight against the coronavirus disease. Upon request, he introduced China’s epidemic prevention and control measures.

Xi stressed that China hopes that Britain will enhance coordination with China to minimize the risk of the epidemic’s spread while ensuring necessary flow of people and trade.

China is ready to provide support and help for Britain, said Xi, adding that he is confident that Britain will surely prevail over the epidemic under Johnson’s leadership.

Reiterating that the Chinese government attaches great importance to protecting the health and safety of Chinese citizens overseas, Xi expressed his hope that Britain will take concrete and effective measures in safeguarding the health, safety and legitimate rights of Chinese nationals on its soil, particularly those studying in Britain.

Viruses know no national boundaries or races, and only by working together can mankind win the battle against them, Xi pointed out.

He called on all nations to push forward cooperation within the frameworks of the United Nations and the Group of 20 (G20), enhance the sharing of information and experience, boost collaboration in scientific research, support the WHO in playing its due role, and improve global health governance.

They should also increase macro-economic policy coordination, so as to stabilize the market, maintain economic growth, safeguard people’s well-being, and keep the global supply chains open, stable and safe, added the Chinese president.

Xi said he believes that after beating the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Britain will have deeper mutual understanding and more extensive consensus, as well as broader prospects for bilateral cooperation.

For his part, Johnson said he congratulates the Chinese government and people on the remarkable achievements they have made in epidemic prevention and control with strenuous efforts and enormous sacrifices.

At present, the COVID-19 situation in Britain is grave, he said, adding that Britain has been studying and learning from China’s useful experience and taking scientific and effective prevention and control measures.

He said the British side thanks China for its valuable support and help, and will do its best to take care of the health and safety of Chinese nationals in Britain, especially the students.

The prime minister said he fully agrees with Xi that no country can wall itself off from the epidemic and all countries should strengthen cooperation. Britain, he added, supports the WHO in playing an important role, and hopes that all parties will deepen relevant cooperation within G20 and other multilateral frameworks.

Noting that China and Britain will hold the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference respectively this year, Johnson said the two sides should take them as opportunities to promote international cooperation in health and epidemic prevention.

He added that he looks forward to maintaining close contact with Xi and visiting China at an early date after the epidemic, so as to jointly promote the development of Britain-China relations.

China ready to work with France in better global health governance

China stands ready to work with France to push for closer cooperation within multilateral frameworks, joint control of COVID-19 and better global health governance, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday night in a phone conversation with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron.

Recalling that at a critical moment in the fight against the coronavirus disease, he and Macron have had three phone calls since January, Xi said that has demonstrated the high level of both the mutual trust between the two presidents and the China-France relationship.

By carrying forward their friendly tradition of mutual sympathy and support, and helping each other with medical supplies, China and France have set an example for people in all countries to help each other and overcome difficulties together, he added.

The Chinese president, who introduced the situation of epidemic prevention and control in China upon request, said he pays close attention to the COVID-19 outbreaks in France and Europe, noting that France is taking a series of active and effective prevention and control measures.

Expressing his sincere sympathies to and firm support for the French government and people, Xi said China is willing to continue to provide support and assistance within its capacity for the European country.

Both China and France shoulder the arduous responsibility of safeguarding international and regional public health security, Xi stressed, suggesting that they carry out sincere cooperation to promote joint research programs, strengthen cooperation in frontier health and quarantine inspection, support the work of the World Health Organization (WHO), help African countries enhance epidemic prevention and control, and strive to build a community of common health.

Xi said China stands ready to work with France to encourage all relevant parties to step up coordination and cooperation within such frameworks as the United Nations and the Group of 20 (G20), engage in joint prevention and containment, improve global health governance, help developing countries and other countries in need with capacity-building, and cushion the epidemic’s impact on the world economy.

For his part, Macron briefed Xi on the current epidemic situation in France and the relevant measures that have been taken.

He said he highly appreciates the fact that the Chinese government and people, with great courage and decisive measures, have effectively contained the disease in a short period of time.

The French side, he added, is sincerely grateful for China’s valuable support and help, and is willing to make concerted efforts with China to boost bilateral health cooperation and encourage all relevant parties to promote cooperation within such frameworks as the G20 and the WHO, so as to beat the pandemic and cope with its impact on the world economy.

The two heads of state also agreed to maintain close communication and promote bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields, so as to ensure continuous development of China-France relations at a high level, and maintain the stability of China-France as well as China-Europe industrial chains and supply chains.

Egypt’s fight against Covid-19

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday night that China supports Egypt’s epidemic prevention and control efforts and stands ready to jointly fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

Xi made the remarks in a telephone conversation with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

The coronavirus disease is currently erupting at different places around the world, said Xi, adding that facts have shown once again that mankind is a community that shares weal and woe, and that all countries must unite and work together to jointly cope with the epidemic.

China, he said, will work with other countries to step up international cooperation in epidemic prevention and control, jointly address common threats and challenges, and safeguard global public health security based on the notion of a community with a shared future for mankind.

After COVID-19 broke out in China, the Egyptian side has expressed its support for China’s fight against the epidemic, demonstrating the profound friendship between the two countries that always stand together through thick and thin, as well as the high level of their comprehensive strategic partnership, said Xi.

Noting that the North African country is also facing the urgent task of battling the epidemic, he said China is willing to share epidemic-related information, experience on prevention and treatment, and outcomes of medical research with Egypt and provide it with medical supplies to support its prevention and control efforts and jointly beat the disease.

The Chinese president added that he believes the traditional friendship between China and Egypt will be deepened through the joint fight against the epidemic.

China attaches great importance to the development of its relations with Egypt, and is willing to join hands with the Egyptian side to deepen their practical cooperation in various fields, and build their relationship into a pilot model of a China-Arab as well as a China-Africa community with a shared future.

For his part, Sisi noted that China’s fight against COVID-19 has achieved positive progress, which has once again demonstrated the strength of Xi’s wise leadership and the solidarity of the great Chinese people.

The Egyptian side always firmly believes that China will prevail over the epidemic and will grow ever stronger, he added.

Egypt, he said, is grateful for China’s support and help, and is confident that through the joint fight against the disease, the friendship between the two countries will be further cemented.

Stressing that Egypt and China are special and friendly partners, Sisi said he attaches great importance to the bilateral ties and stands ready to work with China to boost their practical cooperation of mutual benefit in various fields and enhance communication and coordination in international affairs.

Coronavirus | A call for global unity

As the shadow of the coronavirus widens in the world, it is high time for all countries to come together in response to the crisis that concerns the shared future of humanity.

In the fight against COVID-19, a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations, China believes that solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons.

After the outbreak, China has made all-out efforts in epidemic prevention and control, effectively fending off the “first wave” of the virus and earning time for the world to enhance preparedness. During the fight, the international community provided support and help, which Chinese people will never forget.

At present, China has stepped out of the most arduous stage. But the rest of the world is battling the raging disease. Nearly 300,000 people have been infected worldwide, and almost 13,000 have died, according to the latest WHO update on the outbreak situation.

China did not and will not stand aside when the crisis is causing human suffering, slowing the global economy, and upending people’s lives.

The country has quickly shared its diagnostic and therapeutic experience with the WHO and other countries. The Chinese government has so far announced providing assistance to 82 countries, the WHO and the African Union. Chinese health experts have held video conferences with their counterparts from many countries and international organizations. Local governments, enterprises and civil organizations are also making donations to countries affected.

While giving helping hands to the countries in need, China is also striving to resume production and work. The accelerated development of the “world factory” is boosting world confidence to face up to the risk of economic recession.

China has the world’s largest and most comprehensive manufacturing system. In particular, the country’s recovery of production will provide support for the global industrial and supply chains of medical supplies to ease the dire shortage in many countries.

The epidemic has once again demonstrated the necessity of building a community with a shared future, a concept formally put forward to the world by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations on March 23, 2013. Seven years on, the vision has been guiding China’s diplomacy and will continue to be followed.

The pandemic can be contained only when all countries take coordinated and decisive policy actions rather than resorting to protectionism and isolationism.

In the era of economic globalization, COVID-19 will not be the world’s last major emergency, and various traditional and non-traditional security issues will continuously bring about new tests.

Working together, the international community will be able to write a new chapter in the history of how we have fearlessly battled to defend humanity and won.

Medical experts arrive in Cambodia

At the Phnom Penh international airport on Monday, a seven-member expert team from China, carrying with them tons of medical supplies, were warmly greeted by Cambodian top officials as well as people waving the flags of the two countries.

The medical team added to China’s recent medical support to countries in need — such as Iran, Serbia and Italy — in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the port city of Padova in northern Italy, a Chinese medical squad of nine people, wearing masks as well as vests in red and white with Red Cross logo, were working to an extremely tight schedule to grasp the situation there and offer medical guidance.

Their work was recorded in vlogs and diaries of Grandesso Federico, an Italian national residing in Padova.

“The Chinese team’s visit to Italy is not only important from the scientific side, but also from the human point of view: to be allied against this major illness is to be allied against a major enemy of the mankind,” Giampiero Rupolo, president of the Italian Red Cross Padova Committee, told Federico in a vlog.

China tightens borders

China has scaled up measures at its customs to buck the rising trend of imported coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, as the number has reached 353.

This came as most parts of China have been categorized as “low-risk” for an outbreak and Wuhan, the hardest-hit city, marked its fifth day in a row of zero new cases.

But the country faces a mounting risk posed by soaring cases overseas.

“China has prioritized the prevention of imported cases and taken targeted measures to curb cross-border COVID-19 transmission,” said Song Yueqian, an official with the General Administration of Customs, Monday.

He told a press conference that quarantine measures at the customs have been strengthened. People who are confirmed or suspected of contracting the virus, their close contacts and those who have tell-tale symptoms such as fever, will be sent to medical or quarantine facilities.

BEIJING “MAIN BATTLEFIELD”

Big cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou have ordered travelers from overseas to be quarantined for 14 days.

And Beijing moved a step forward Monday.

All arriving international flights were ordered to first land in 12 nearby cities, including Tianjin and Hohhot, where passengers must be cleared of COVID-19 before they can travel to Beijing on the same flight.

Sun Shaohua, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said the move will help stem the inflow of cases to Beijing, which has become the country’s “main battlefield” for such cases.

Each week, nearly 200 international flights connected Beijing with cities in 33 countries, including the United States, the Republic of Korea, France, Germany and Spain, bringing “unprecedented” risks to the airports in the Chinese capital, Sun said.

Liu Haitao, an official with the National Immigration Administration, cautioned foreign travelers that transiting through Beijing during the epidemic would take extra time.

QUARANTINE FOR SEAFARERS

On sea travel, China’s guideline on the COVID-19 prevention and control has been adopted by the International Maritime Organization for the international shipping industry.

The guideline covered crew protection, emergency response and case reporting, Yang Xinzhai, a Ministry of Transport official, said at the press conference.

Yang estimated that around 10,000 Chinese sailors might see their contracts expire and return to shore by the end of May.

Seafarers who sailed for more than 14 days and show no symptoms will be allowed to go, but those whose voyage time is less than 14 days will need to be quarantined for further observation, Yang said.

ENTRY BAN FOR FLOUTING IMMIGRATION FORMS

The immigration authorities, in the meantime, said arriving foreigners must accurately fill in immigration forms, detailing their destinations and contact persons in China.

“Those who fail to meet entry requirements, or do not answer inquires and report information according to facts, are not allowed to enter China,” said Liu, the immigration official.

He said the immigration authorities have shared nearly 200,000 pieces of entry and exit information with the customs and health administrations and helped find more than 100 imported COVID-19 cases.

The findings accounted for one-third of the total imported COVID-19 patients in China, Liu said.

‘I have never and would never call Covid-19 a China virus’

White House coronavirus task force member and the leading infectious diseases expert in the United States, Anthony Fauci, told Science magazine Sunday that he has never called and would never call COVID-19 a “China virus.”

Immunologist Anthony Fauci (on his left, US President Donald Trump and behind him is US Vice President Mike Pence)

During a recent press conference, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested China should have revealed the discovery of the novel coronavirus much earlier.

“I told the appropriate people it doesn’t comport, because two or three months earlier would have been September,” said Fauci, who is also the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

When asked whether the United States should implement “creative ideas” adopted by other countries in response to the coronavirus, such as the Chinese practice of using thermometers at supermarkets before letting people in, Fauci said those measures are worth considering.

“I think the logistics of that have to be worked out … I will bring it up at the next task force meeting and see whether there’s some sort of a logistical, bureaucratic reason why it can’t be done,” Fauci. “The rationale for doing it is at least worth serious consideration.”

Fauci said he has been suggesting that the White House hold virtual press briefings, but the proposal has so far not been adopted.

“When you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things one, two, three, four times, and then it happens. So, I’m going to keep pushing,” he said.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang’s Regular Press Conference on March 23, 2020 on COVID-19

1).Q: As the pandemic is spreading across the world, medical supplies are insufficient in many countries. You announced a few days ago that China has provided assistance to 82 countries. Will China continue to provide assistance to other countries?

A: The pandemic knows no borders but it brings out the best in humanity. Earlier on, the international community has offered political support and medical supplies to China in the hardest time. As the domestic situation continues to improve, China has started to provide assistance to other countries in urgent need within its capacity while continuing to do a good job in domestic epidemic prevention and control.

For countries that have assisted China in its fight against the epidemic, we will reciprocate their kindness without any hesitation if they need it. We will offer assistance as our capability allows to friendly countries that are in a severe situation and lack of prevention and control materials, especially those developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as regional organizations such as the African Union.

As I said last time, in addition to intergovernmental assistance at the state level, local governments and enterprises in China have taken action and donated supplies to the worst-affected countries. As far as I know, local governments of China have donated medical supplies to subnational governments in 19 countries, including Algeria, Angola, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Peru, the ROK, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States. Chinese companies have donated goods to 20 countries, namely Cambodia, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, the ROK, Laos, Malta, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and the United States. Upholding the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, many Chinese companies operating overseas have also donated supplies to their local communities with a strong sense of social responsibility.

By doing so, China has lend firm support to the global fight against the pandemic, made contributions to global public health security, fulfilled its role as a responsible major country and put into practice the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

2).Q: President Trump said at press conferences on March 20 and 21 that China could have told the US earlier about the outbreak. According to US media reports, on March 20, the White House National Security Council launched a communications plan across multiple federal agencies that accuses China of “orchestrating a cover-up and creating a global pandemic”. What is your comment?

A: I’ve read that report. And I also saw another report saying that on March 20, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the press that China, Russia and Iran were spreading disinformation and smearing US epidemic response.

Putting them together, you will find that on the very day of March 20, the US was on the one hand pushing federal agencies to speak against China and on the other hand accusing China, Russia and Iran of disseminating disinformation. I just can’t help asking who is really spreading disinformation to mislead the public? The US, like a thief crying stop thief, has played such a cheap trick of slander and smear.

Last Friday, I detailed the notification and communication on COVID-19 between China and the US since the outbreak in a timeline. China has been sharing epidemic information with relevant countries and regions, the US included, in an open, transparent and responsible manner, which is universally acclaimed by the international community. Over the past two months or so, the Chinese people have united as one to fight against it. We have bought precious time for and made significant contributions to the world.

The WHO said that countries like Singapore and the ROK have made full use of the precious time China bought for the world and taken necessary prevention and control measures to stem the spread of the epidemic. What has the US done during the same period?

Since January 3, China has been regularly updating the WHO and countries, the US included. On January 23, China announced suspension of outbound public transport from Wuhan. When the US government announced the denial of entry by foreigners who had visited China in the past 14 days on February 2, only about 10 confirmed cases were reported in the US. Fifty days on, the number of confirmed cases in the US has soared from 10 to more than 30,000. Has the US taken any effective measures in the past 50 days? The US side has done nothing but waste the precious time China bought. Now the US has nothing better to do than discredit others, deflect responsibilities and find scapegoats. This is immoral and irresponsible. It will not help the US stop the pandemic, nor will it support the international community’s joint efforts against it.

I once again urge the US to immediately stop politicizing the pandemic, stigmatizing China and denigrating other countries. The US should focus on getting its own house in order and play a constructive role in the global combat against the pandemic and safeguarding global public health security.

3).Q: You announced last week China would hold a video conference on COVID-19 prevention and control with Eurasian and South Asian countries. Do you have more details?

A: On March 20, the Chinese Foreign Ministry, together with the National Health Commission and the General Administration of Customs, held an online video conference to brief 19 Eurasian and South Asian countries on China’s experience in the prevention and control of COVID-19. A press release was issued and you may refer to it.

The participating countries attached great importance to the meeting, which was attended by heads of health departments and the centers for disease control and prevention, and officials from departments of foreign affairs, civil aviation, the customs and WHO representatives in 11 Eurasian countries including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as eight South Asian countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, the Maldives, India and Bhutan.

In response to the concerns of their foreign counterparts, Chinese experts briefed them on the experience and practices on epidemic prevention and control, clinical diagnosis and treatment, equipment support and port inspection and quarantine, and answered more than 80 questions raised by the attendees. This four-hour meeting proved very relevant and effective, which was attended by over 200 people.

Those participants highly appraised China’s achievements in fighting against the epidemic and its great contribution to global public health. They said this video conference was very timely and necessary as they could learn a lot from China’s experience. They stand ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with China to jointly tackle the challenge of COVID-19.

Going forward, China will continue to uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and the spirit of mutual assistance and solidarity, share information with the international community, the Eurasian and South Asian countries included, in an open, transparent and responsible manner, and deepen international cooperation in epidemic prevention and control.

4).Q: A team of medical experts sent by the Chinese government arrived in Phnom Penh this morning, being the first to a neighboring country amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Is this because of the special friendship between China and Cambodia? Apart from the team, has China provided any assistance to Cambodia?

A: The Chinese government sent the team of medical experts to help Cambodia fight the COVID-19 outbreak. The team of seven arrived in Phnom Penh this morning receiving a warm welcome from the Cambodian government and people. China also donated to the Cambodian side a batch of supplies including testing reagents, N95 respirators, disposable surgical masks, fluid-resistant isolation gowns and surgical gowns.

After COVID-19 broke out, His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni and Her Royal Highness Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk both wrote to President Xi Jinping, expressing sympathies and providing donation in cash. Prime Minister Hun Sen visited China shortly after the outbreak to express confidence in and support for China’s victory over the challenge. Cambodian people from all walks of life made financial and material donations to China as the Chinese people fought an all-out war against the virus.

Now as Cambodia is facing a daunting task to contain the spread of COVID-19, it goes without saying that China will do its utmost to help in every possible way. This is not only an embodiment of the special ties between us, but is also fitting for our iron-clad friendship and community with a shared future. China will continue to work hand in hand with Cambodia to prevail over the pandemic and contribute to regional public health security.

5).Q: Africa is a weak link in international public health security. Most African countries are currently experiencing outbreaks, and the Africa CDC predicts that the next wave of outbreaks in Africa may be massive. The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation have donated materials to African countries which arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 22. Could you brief us on the overall situation of China’s assistance to Africa?

A: China and Africa are good friends, good partners and good brothers. The two sides have always supported and helped each other. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, African countries and regional organizations have voiced and provided valuable support to China. China pays close attention to the situation in Africa and has actively offered supplies to African countries and the African Union including testing reagents and medical protective supplies. Some of these materials have been delivered to the African side. The Chinese side also held a video conference to exchange relevant experience with the African side and mobilized Chinese medical teams in Africa to actively participate in the actions in their host countries. Many Chinese enterprises, non-governmental organizations and overseas Chinese in Africa also provided assistance to Africa on their own initiative.

We appreciate the kind donation made by Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation, which vividly illustrates the friendly sentiments of the Chinese people towards the African people. Going forward, China will continue to increase its support to African countries’ efforts against the pandemic. Emergency assistance provided by the Chinese government will be delivered in batches to Africa. China will also continue to coordinate and encourage Chinese enterprises and private institutions to actively provide support to African countries.

6).Q: First, there’s a steady rise of imported cases of COVID-19 in the last few days or weeks. Can you provide us some details on the number of foreigners and whether the majority are overseas Chinese coming back to the country? My second question is, in the list of countries you spoke of, the donor countries that have assisted China, India is absent. India, if I remember it right, has sent 15 tons of materials needed by China after ascertaining its needs. And there is also a steady rise of cases in India. Are there any approaches between India and China in the regard of whether China can send whatever assistance required? Is China planning to ascertain that from India?

A: Regarding your first question, according to statistics released by the National Health Commission this morning, as of 24:00 on March 22, a total of 353 confirmed imported cases had been reported. I don’t know exactly how many of them are foreigners or what their nationalities are. If you are interested in these specifics, you may ask the competent authorities.

On your second question, since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and India have maintained communication and cooperation on epidemic prevention and control. Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a letter of sympathies to President Xi Jinping, and External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had a telephone conversation with State Councilor Wang Yi. The Indian side has also provided medical supplies to China, and Indian people have supported China’s fight against the epidemic in various ways. We express appreciation and thanks for that. The Chinese embassy in India establishes a contact mechanism with the Indian health department to keep the Indian side informed of how the situation evolves in a timely manner. China also provides necessary help and convenience for the Indian government to take back Indian citizens in Hubei, and protect the health and safety of Indian citizens in China.

The COVID-19 is taking footholds and keeps spreading in many parts of the world. We note the current situation in India. I want to point out that China and India are the only two major countries in the world with a population of more than 1 billion and face common challenges in public health. China stands ready to share its experience in epidemic prevention and control and diagnosis and treatment, and provide further support and assistance to the best of our capability in light of the needs of the Indian side.

In addition, I mentioned India when I briefed you on the video conference held last week between China and Eurasian and South Asian countries. India participated in the video conference and the communication between the two sides was very smooth and close.