China Has Full Confidence, Capability to Control Epidemic
——Remarks by Ambassador Qian Bo on China's fight against novel coronavirus outbreak
2020-02-05 07:14

On 5th February, Fiji Sun published a signed article by Ambassador Qian Bo entitled China Has Full Confidence, Capability to Control Epidemic. The full text is as follows:

China Has Full Confidence, Capability to Control Epidemic

The 2019-nCov epidemic has become a common concern of the international community. Since the outbreak of the contagion, the Chinese government has been taking the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures with a high sense of responsibility for people’s health. China has also been actively developing international cooperation on disease prevention and control.

China's efforts to prevent and control the epidemic.

On January 20, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang instructed governments at all levels to pay highest attention to the development of the epidemic. The National Health Commission and local authorities were ordered to activate all-round emergency response mechanisms, to ensure its efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus-related pneumonia will be advanced in an open, transparent, scientific and orderly manner. On January 25, Premier Li was designated chair of a newly established central leading small group on battling the 2019-nCov epidemic.

Rapid mobilization at the top level catapulted the whole nation into instant reaction. Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, has been put on lockdown for more than a week to prevent further outbreaks. At present, over 6,000 medical staff including many military medics from all over the country are now in Wuhan to join the fight against the virus.

The 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital and 1,500-bed Leishenshan Hospital, emergency specialty hospitals in Wuhan will start to accept patients on Feb 3 and 6 respectively, just around 10 days after plans for their construction were first announced.

To curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, China has rolled out a host of unprecedented moves, including extending the Spring Festival holiday, postponing the spring semesters of schools and universities, and adopting transport restrictions in various areas.

According to the Ministry of Finance, China has allocated 27.3 billion yuan (about 3.94 billion U.S. dollars) to support the battle across the country as of Jan. 29. Financial and material donations from Chinese enterprises have been growing. Charities and Red Cross agencies in Hubei have received up to 4.26 billion yuan and 5.29 million pieces of materials in donation by the end of January.

Despite the epidemic prevention and control remained grim and complex, our efforts on various fronts are paying off, and we have the confidence, capacity and determination to defeat the outbreak.

Why has the Chinese government taken such strong measures?

Quarantine is a traditional and yet the most effective measure to contain a deadly epidemic. Because there is no specific cure or vaccine against virus-caused infections (including 2019-nCoV), standard public health emergency measures usually prove most efficient, including isolating the sources of infection, cutting off or interrupting transmission routes, and special care for the most susceptible people.

Had the Chinese government not taken determined efforts to quarantine the places with concentrated confirmed cases, the deadly virus may have spread all over the world and generated devastating impact on the global economic and public health systems. So far, the number of cases in the rest of the world has remained relatively small.

As WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesuson correctly pointed out at a press conference on January 30, “the Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak, despite the severe social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people”.

Join hands in fighting against the 2019-nCov epidemic.

The Chinese government has been taking the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures with a high sense of responsibility for people's health. Many of these measures go well beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations.

At the same time, acting with openness, transparency and a responsible attitude, the Chinese side informed relevant sides and shared the genome sequence of the coronavirus in a timely manner. WHO and many countries have recognized and commended China's efforts and speaks highly of China's great contribution to the world by fighting against the novel coronavirus.

Regarding WHO's declaration of the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern, Dr Ghebreyesus clearly stated that the main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China. It is about protecting countries with weaker health systems and which are ill-prepared to deal with potential spread.

WHO continues to have confidence in China's capacity to control the outbreak. There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. WHO doesn't recommend limiting trade and movement. The Chinese side hopes that the other countries will act in an objective and fact-based spirit, respect this clear recommendation. Under current circumstances, solidarity is what the world needs.

The epidemic is occurring mainly in China, with limited spread to other countries. China has made enormous contribution to the world with its concrete actions. All countries should adopt a responsible attitude, work together to combat the virus, and avoid overreaction that may result in more negative spillover effects.

As WHO Director-General said, “the only way we will defeat this outbreak is for all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation. We are all in this together, and we can only stop it together......This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumors. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma.”

As a Chinese saying goes, “Just as polishing refines a piece of jade, adversity makes one stronger.” The Chinese nation is dedicated to social commitment and self-discipline. China is good at mobilizing resources to meet major challenges. China has gained valuable experience in dealing with SARS, H1N1 influenza, avian influenza and Ebola virus. And China has built a solid technological and material foundation over the past seven decades since the founding of the People's Republic. With the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the enormous strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the robust support from the international community, we have every resolve, confidence and capability in winning the fight against the outbreak.