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Chinese Ambassador H.E. Liu Hongyang's Article "Defeat the Pandemic through Global Solidarity and Joint Action: The Chinese 'Prescription' for COVID-19" Published on Nation

2020-03-31

        On 31 March 2020, an article titled "Defeat the Pandemic through Global Solidarity and Joint Action: The Chinese ‘Prescription’ for COVID-19" by H.E. Liu Hongyang, the Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, was published on Nation, one of Malawi's leading newspaper. Following is the full text of the article:

        At present, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly around the world. On 26 March, the Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit was held to promote a global coordinated response to the COVID-19 outbreak and cushion its impact on economy and society. The summit issued a Statement on COVID-19, emphasizing that the pandemic knows no borders, and members of the G20 should work together to deal with the threat of the epidemic. All parties are committed to strengthening international cooperation, providing support to developing countries, especially the least developed countries to tackle the common challenge. Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the meeting and delivered an important speech entitled "Working Together to Defeat the COVID-19 Outbreak". Based on China's experience in the battle against the epidemic, the speech expounded on China's propositions of adhering to international cooperation, conducting scientific prevention and control, stabilizing the global economy and upholding globalization, and put forward the Chinese philosophy of strengthening international cooperation to fight against the epidemic and jointly building a community with a shared future for mankind, which has been widely recognized and praised by the G20 members.

        Contrary to the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world, the epidemic has been successfully controlled in China. On 29 March, there were totally 31 new confirmed cases in China. Among them, 30 cases were imported from abroad. There has been no local new cases in Chinese mainland for several days. Due to the improvement of the situation in Hubei Province, all the makeshift hospitals were closed on 10 March. From 17 March, 42,000 medical personnel from other provinces in Hubei started to go back home in batches. Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and with the unremitting efforts of all Chinese people, China has achieved a decisive victory in the fight against the epidemic and I believe the final victory is just around the corner. Thanks to China's rapid and effective prevention and control measures, it has achieved such remarkable results. On 30 December 2019, the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in China. The Chinese side completed the virus isolation in just one week and notified the WHO and other countries of the outbreak and the virus genetic sequence in the shortest time. On 23 January 2020, comprehensive anti-epidemic campaigns were launched throughout the country. Wuhan implemented lockdown and decided to build Huoshenshan Hospital with 1,000 beds. On 25 January, it decided to build Leishenshan Hospital with 1,600 beds. On 5 February, the first makeshift hospital was put into use. In less than two months, China has basically achieved the success of ZERO new locally confirmed cases.

        Since the outbreak, we have witnessed many touching and inspiring stories in China. A 90-year-old man who was diagnosed with COVID-19 felt that he was too old, so he would like to leave the hope of life to young patients rather than waste the medical resources on his own treatment. Later, with the persuasion of the doctors, the old man finally cooperated with the treatment actively and was successfully cured and discharged from hospital. A 103-year-old woman who was diagnosed as a severe patient of COVID-19 recovered after 6 days of meticulous treatment. The youngest COVID-19 patient in China was only 55 days old when he was sent to the hospital. After 12 days of treatment, he was discharged and reunited with his parents. In the process of the fight against the epidemic, Chinese strength, Chinese speed, Chinese solution and China’s sense of responsibility have been widely praised by the international community. China has written out its “prescription” for COVID-19.

Ⅰ. Strong leadership and national unity have shaped Chinese Strength.

        Since the outbreak of COVID-19, President Xi Jinping has been paying close attention to the epidemic, and personally commanding the deployment of epidemic prevention and control efforts. The CPC Central Committee set up a Leading Group at once and established a national joint prevention and control mechanism composed of 32 government departments. President Xi Jinping convened more than 10 high-level meetings on COVID-19, held a teleconference with 170,000 people to oversee and guide national prevention and control work, and gave important instructions every day. President Xi Jinping went to Wuhan himself to inspect the epidemic prevention and control work, and expressed solicitude to front-line medical personnels, patients and the general public on 10 March. He also went to communities, hospitals and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Beijing and inspected scientific research progress. The strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee has charted the course for epidemic prevention and control.

        Chinese people believe that the importance of a country is paramount compared to that of individuals. This belief makes all Chinese people unite as one. The Chinese government has taken strong and unprecedented prevention and control measures, and all Chinese people have united as one to tide over the difficulties. The people of Wuhan decided to seal off the city to contain the spread of the virus. 1.4 billion people stopped visiting relatives and friends during the Spring Festival and have fully complied with the policies of staying at home, holiday extension, public transport suspension and nationwide quarantine. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with President Xi Jinping as its core, China has formed a top-down comprehensive and multi-layered prevention and control system focusing on Wuhan and Hubei Province and set a new standard for outbreak response, effectively contained the spread of the virus and earned time for the rest of the world.

Ⅱ. Institutional advantages and national mobilization have created Chinese Speed.

        China has created many anti-epidemic miracles by virtue of the institutional advantages of "pooling resources for major undertakings". China’s speed has once again attracted worldwide attention. The Chinese government took timely prevention and control measures in the shortest time, such as sealing off Wuhan city to contain the spread of the virus. The central and local governments immediately allocated nearly 70 billion RMB for the fight against the epidemic. Materials and personnels were sent to Hubei province in the shortest time. More than 42,000 medical personnels were sent to support Hubei and Wuhan, more than two-thirds of whom were women. The People's Liberation Army sent more than 4,000 medical personnels and 19 provinces provided paired support to 16 cities of Hubei. It took only ten days respectively to build two hospitals with a total of 2,600 beds. 86 designated hospitals and 16 makeshift hospitals have been put in place in a short time, providing more than 60,000 beds. The daily production capacity of masks in China rose from 43 million to 110 million within 9 days. Due to the remarkable Chinese speed, virus experts predicted that the epidemic in China will be completely controlled by the end of this April.

        Meanwhile, people from all walks of life have actively donated money and materials to support the fight against COVID-19. More than 90 million CPC members across the country have voluntarily donated billions RMB. As of 8 March, Hubei Province had received a total donation of 13.793 billion RMB and 99.07 million items. All kinds of necessities were adequately supplied. People all actively participate in voluntary work, with 50,000 volunteers serving in Wuhan. Lots of medical personnels, policemen, soldiers, and others fight in the front-line, and some even sacrificed their precious lives in exchange for the hope that more people would survive. UN Secretary General António Guterres said that the Chinese people are sacrificing many aspects of their normal life to prevent the virus from further spreading, and he praised China's contribution for mankind.

Ⅲ. Integrated treatment and economy stimulation have formed Chinese Solution.

        At present, there are no specific medicines or vaccines for COVID-19, but Chinese scientists are stepping up the development of vaccines and have quickly developed nucleic acid testing kits to conduct testing, ensuring timely isolation and treatment so as to effectively reduce the fatality rate and significantly increase the cure rate. The good news is that China's vaccine is currently undergoing clinical trials and is expected to be widely available after finishing all required procedures. At the same time, Chinese medical personnels also found that traditional Chinese medicine can quickly reduce symptoms and decrease conversion to critical illness. Chinese doctors combine the traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine to treat patients, which has achieved good results. Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO Director-General’s senior adviser, said the global community is not ready to adopt the Chinese treatment method, which is however the only method that has proven successful currently.

        The epidemic has had some impact on China's catering, tourism, transportation, manufacturing and other industries. In order to ensure stable economic and social development, the CPC Central Committee held a working conference on the COVID-19 prevention and control and economic and social development. At the meeting, President Xi Jinping stressed the need to fully release the huge potential and powerful driving force for development, striving to achieve economic and social development goals. China's economic authorities have promptly issued a number of policies, and lots of provinces and cities have taken measures, such as tax incentives, rent reduction and financial support, to support enterprises in the battle against the epidemic. Now, apart from Hubei, 30 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) of China have resumed production in an orderly manner. China's economy grew at a rate of 6.1% last year, with GDP approaching 100 trillion RMB, accounting for 16% of global GDP and contributing more than 30% to global economic growth. Therefore, China’s economy has great resilience. We are confident that after the epidemic, China's economy will fully recover and recoup the losses caused by the epidemic.

Ⅳ. International cooperation and active assistance have shown China as a country of global responsibility.

        Since the outbreak, with openness, transparency and a high sense of responsibility, China has been cooperating with the international community to jointly respond to the pandemic through timely and actively notifying the WHO and other countries of virus genetic sequence and other epidemic information. China also invited WHO experts to visit Wuhan and invited WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to visit China. Leaders of over 170 countries and heads of more than 40 regional and international organizations sent messages of solidarity, made phone calls and issued statements to express sympathy and support for China. They also commended China for its effective and extraordinary response and enormous sacrifice. The 36th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council issued a communique in which the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of AU Member States expressed their solidarity with the Chinese government and people in the efforts to counter spread of COVID-19 and their confidence in China’s ability to deal with the challenge. The recent AU Meeting of Ministers of Health also highly praised China's anti-epidemic measures.

        China received assistance and material support from many countries. At present, the COVID-19 outbreak in China has been effectively controlled, but the global situation is getting worse. By now, 200 countries and over 720,000 people are infected, and the WHO has announced that COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. But humanity shines through the dark cloud of the epidemic. Chinese government has begun to reciprocate the generosity of the international community. China has donated 20 million USD to the WHO's international cooperation against COVID-19, especially to help small and medium-sized countries with vulnerable public health systems to shore up lines of defense. China has also sent 7 batches of medical teams to Iran, Iraq, Italy, Cambodia and Serbia, donated 2000 testing kits to AU and the second batch of 10,000 testing kits has also arrived at AU. By now, Chinese government has donated medical materials to 89 countries and international organizations, such as the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan, Iran, Pakistan, Serbia, Spain, Philippines, EU, AU and others. Chinese medical experts have held almost 30 video conferences on epidemic prevention and control with more than 100 countries and international organizations including African countries and AU. China and ROK have also set up a joint epidemic prevention and control cooperation mechanism to share China's experience. At the same time, many Chinese organizations, NGOs and individuals have been providing medical materials for other countries. Chinese entrepreneur Ma Yun (Jack Ma) has donated 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 protective suits to each of the 54 African countries. While overcoming difficulties domestically, China is ready to provide other countries with medical supplies to help them fight against the pandemic, contributing its strength to regional and global public health security.

Ⅴ. Joint action and fight together to build a global community with a shared future in public health for mankind.

        At present, globalization has penetrated into all aspects of life, especially in economy and public health areas. The pandemic makes us understand that the virus respects no nationalities and boundaries. We are all interdependent in a global community of public health. COVID-19 is our common enemy, and the only right option for the world is to make concerted efforts. Now, the virus is spreading all over the world, and the situation in Europe, US and other countries is getting worse. There have been confirmed cases in African countries, but none of these cases were imported directly from China or brought in by people who have contacted with Chinese. It is predicted that it will take some time before the world sees a turning point. As the weather in the southern hemisphere turns cold, it will gradually enter a period of high influenza incidence, and every country should attach great importance to the prevention of the epidemic. Therefore, in the context of globalization, all countries can’t be separated from one another. We should work together and join hands to take effective prevention and control measures to defeat the virus in the shortest time, so as to build a healthy and safe global community with a shared future in public health.

        1. We need to raise public awareness. Governments, organizations, communities and individuals need to lead by example and attach great importance to epidemic prevention and control.

        2. We need to take effective measures. Take effective prevention and control measures following the advice of the WHO according to the situation in the country.

        3. We need to reduce unnecessary travel. The risk of travel is very high, and less mobility means less infection and transmission.

        4. We need to strengthen publicity and guidance. The prevention knowledge should be widely publicized, and people should be educated to develop good personal protective habits, such as wearing face masks, washing hands frequently, disinfecting, avoid shaking hands, and no gatherings.

        5. We need to stop discrimination and smear. Some countries have politicized the epidemic and used the virus to incite stigma, smear and discrimination. This not only hinders international cooperation, but also delays their own opportunities for epidemic prevention.

        6. We need to share resources and information. While taking anti-epidemic measures, every country should timely share medical resources and information with each other, and help those less-developed countries and regions.

        Malawi, despite its limited conditions, provided valuable support for China in fighting against COVID-19. H.E. Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika sent a letter to President Xi Jinping, expressing Malawi’s solidarity and appreciation for China's prevention and control measures and many friends from all walks of life in Malawi expressed their condolences, support and best wishes to China as well. We are very grateful for that. Fortunately, Malawi has not seen a reported case. But considering the medical system of Malawi and the highly contagious virus, I would like to suggest that the Malawi government and all Malawian people seriously take prevention and control measures, and adopt comprehensive detection and isolation measures. Everyone should take precautions in daily life, reduce exposure and travel, and do everything possible to prevent COVID-19 in Malawi. Meanwhile, a batch of anti-epidemic materials donated by Mr. Ma Yun has arrived in Malawi, and the Chinese government and Chinese Embassy in Malawi will make further donations to assist Malawi in preventing and controlling the epidemic. I believe that with our joint efforts, the health and safety of all Malawian people will be effectively protected.

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