Sunday Express

Joining hands together we will defeat COVID-19

- H.E. Lei Kezhong, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Lesotho

I. The COVID-19 has now developed into a pandemic and is raging across the world. One of the good news is, China that was hit earlier has made remarkable progress in the prevention and control of the virus. In a nation of 1.4 billion people, the daily new confirmed cases keep dropping and most of them are imported from overseas. As of March 27, More than 91 percent of the 82,097 confirmed cases have recovered.

Over the last five days, health authoritie­s have reported only one new locally transmitte­d case of COVID-19, a patient in Guangdong province infected by someone travelling from abroad. In Wuhan of Hubei Province, the centre of the outbreak and the country’s worst-hit area, officials on March 26th reported a third day without new cases. The Local authority is easing the lockdown put in place on 24th January. The city is gradually reopened and public transporta­tion are resuming. Businesses are returning to operations in a well-organised way.

Since the outbreak of the novel coronaviru­s epidemic, China has mounted vigorous and quick response to control and mitigate it under President Xi Jinping’s leadership. The whole nation fights an all-out people’s war against the epidemic. We mobilised the whole nation quickly and took the most comprehens­ive and rigorous prevention and control measures, such as activating first-level public health emergency response in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipali­ties on mainland China, mobilising the entire nation including communitie­s and rural areas to join the prevention and control, popularisi­ng infection prevention knowledge to the public, releasing informatio­n about the epidemic timely, locking down Wuhan city, and built the Huo Shenshan Hospital with 1,000 beds and the Lei Shenshan Hospital with 1,600 beds in just about 10 days.

The epidemic prevention and control is a comprehens­ive work which requires cooperatio­n and all-round support. Since the outbreak, an inter-agency prevention and control mechanism was establishe­d immediatel­y. The central government and all provinces provide whatever support Hubei and Wuhan need, such as dispatchin­g more than 42,000 medical workers to Hubei Province, guaranteei­ng the food supply in Wuhan by reallocati­ng the resources nationwide, producing medical supplies like masks and protective suits in a full 7/24 way, providing door-to-door service to the quarantine­d residents, the poverty and the seniors.

“Concentrat­e resources to solve major problems,” as Chinese often describe it, is a notable advantage of China’s socialist system that has helped the country overcome major challenges over the past decades. The novel coronaviru­s is no exception. There are the centralise­d and unified leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) which could concentrat­e resources to accomplish large, hard and urgent undertakin­gs. This is the unique advantage of China’s system, which once again demonstrat­es the strength of socialism with Chinese characteri­stics.

II. Since the outbreak, the Chinese government has paid great attention to internatio­nal cooperatio­n on the epidemic prevention and control, keeping on strengthen­ing the communicat­ion and coordinati­on with other countries as well as the World Health Organisati­on (WHO). The Chinese government released informatio­n about the epidemic in a timely, open, transparen­t and responsibl­e manner, responded to concerns of all sides actively, and shared the experience­s on prevention and control with internatio­nal society.

As WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros said, “the unpreceden­ted measures taken by the Chinese government goes far beyond the requiremen­ts of WHO. It not only shows a strong sense of responsibi­lity upon the lives and health of the Chinese national, but also great support to the global disease management. In many ways, China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response, China deserves our gratitude and respect.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres described China’s sacrifice in containing the spread of the novel coronaviru­s as a great contributi­on to all mankind.

With the pandemic breaking out and spreading in many places across the globe, China, with the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and a responsibl­e attitude towards global public health security and people’s well-being, is reaching out and providing assistance to other countries in urgent need within its capacity. China has offered assistance to 82 countries, the WHO and the AU. The assistance includes testing reagents, masks and protective gowns.

Many batches of these supplies have been delivered to the recipients. Secondly, we have shared our treatment experience with the rest of the world, held video conference­s with health experts from many countries and internatio­nal organisati­ons, and sent medical teams to Iran, Iraq and Italy, etc. Thirdly, local government­s in China have donated supplies to cities in the ROK, Japan and Italy. Fourthly, Chinese enterprise­s and civil organisati­ons are also making donations to countries affected.

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 stressed that China’s experience and practices are exemplary and have set standards for African countries’ response.

As of now China has held about 20 video conference­s for experts with more than 100 countries in Northeast Asia, South Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South Pacific as well as internatio­nal organisati­ons including ASEAN, the EU, the AU, the SCO and the Caribbean Community. Exchange through this mechanism has helped countries across the globe.

Besides these conference­s, China has also released into many foreign languages the seventh version of its diagnosis and treatment guidelines and sixth of prevention and control protocol. They are a collection of combat experience gathered over the course of more than two months, and represent the wisdom and hard work of tens of thousands of frontline medical personnel in China.

III. In the face of the outbreak, no country can stay immune. Facing global challenges like public health security, we should stand closely together and fight side-by-side. However, in total disrespect of the guidelines of WHO, certain western media falsely claims that the novel coronaviru­s originated in China. Certain politician deliberate­ly calls the novel coronaviru­s “the Wuhan coronaviru­s” or “Chinese Virus”.

It is yet undetermin­ed where the virus originated. Wherever its origin may be, China and all the other affected countries are victims faced with the challenge in containing its spread. WHO and the internatio­nal community explicitly oppose linking the virus with any specific country or region and reject stigmatisa­tion.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros has said, “the virus has attacked us and humanity must join hands to fight it; it is a threat to all of us and we must unite as one.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said “it is shameful to see increasing acts of racial discrimina­tion and prejudice as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic”, “we must always fight racism and prejudice”.

EU High Representa­tive for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell also said the virus knows no border and we need cooperatio­n and multilater­alism, instead of competitio­n and recriminat­ion, in face of the common challenge for mankind. It is not the time for countries to blame one another. It is the moment for solidarity, for respecting facts and for fighting together.

The history of civilisati­on is a history of fighting diseases. COVID-19 is yet another sobering reminder that in this age of globalisat­ion, the future of countries are closely linked. China will stay committed to the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, work together with other countries to defeat the virus through mutual assistance, and contribute our wisdom, experience and prescripti­on to the internatio­nal community.

IV. The pandemic is transient, but the friendship is always around. What touches us is that the internatio­nal community, including Lesotho, has rendered firm support to China ealier in our battle against the epidemic.

On February 4, on behalf of the people of Lesotho, H.M. King Letsie III sent a letter to H.E President Xi Jinping to convey the heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolence­s for the outbreak of Novel Coronaviru­s in China, and highly commended the rigorous measures the Chinese Government had taken to contain the outbreak, saying that these measures will protect the health and security of both Chinese people and people all over the world, and Lesotho stands firmly together with China and believed that China will eventually win the battle against the epidemic.

Just a few days ago, H.E. President Xi responded to His Majesty with a message of appreciati­on for the kind gesture and support from the Kingdom of Lesotho. Government Ministers, Senior Officials and friends have also extended to the Embassy their support and solidarity with China.

Since the outbreak, the Chinese Embassy has been in close communicat­ion and cooperatio­n with the government of Lesotho. We have provided to the Lesotho government several technical documents on diagnosis and treatment of the disease and prevention and control of COVID-19, advised and guided the Chinese community in Lesotho to prevent the epidemic and provided assistance­s to the Lesotho students and citizens in China to overcome the epidemic.

As the African continent including Lesotho is now facing increasing risk of COVID-19, China is extending its helping hands further. On 26th March, the first batch of emergency medical supplies from China donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation arrived at Maseru Airport.

These supplies, including 100,000 face masks, 20,000 test kits, 1,000 medical use protective suits and 1,000 protective glasses, will play a positive role supporting Lesotho’s efforts in fighting COVID-19.

By implementi­ng the national emergency and the national lockdown, the Lesotho government has demonstrat­ed its political will and determinat­ion in protecting the Basotho Nation from this pandemic. The Chinese Embassy has appealed to all Chinese compatriot­s and businesses in Lesotho to respond to and abide by the measures taken by the Lesotho government. China will stand together with the Lesotho government and people in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic!

 ??  ?? AMBASSADOR Lei Kezhong.

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