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May 13, 2021
DIPLOMACY EDITORIAL OP-ED OPINION WORLD

Fighting Covid-19: China in action

By Jiang Yu, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Romania

 

At a time when people of various countries are fighting against the invisible enemy of the new coronavirus, China’s State Council Information Office issued on June 7, a white paper on “Fighting Covid-19: China in Action”.

It has truly recorded the great course of the Chinese people’s fight against the epidemic, shared China’s experience and practices with the international community and expounded China’s vision and position for the global fight against the epidemic. I would like to make a brief introduction to our Romanian friends.

 

China’s arduous process of fighting the epidemic

 

The Covid-19 epidemic is a major public health emergency. The virus has spread faster and wider than any other since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, and has proven to be the most difficult to contain. It is both a crisis and a major test for China. The Chinese government has addressed the epidemic as a top priority, and taken swift action. President Xi Jinping has taken personal command, planned the response, overseen the general situation and acted decisively, pointing the way forward in the fight against the epidemic. This has bolstered the Chinese people’s confidence and rallied their strength. Through painstaking efforts and tremendous sacrifice, and having paid a heavy price, China has succeeded in turning the situation around. In little more than a single month, the rising spread of the virus was contained; in around two months, the daily increase in domestic coronavirus cases had fallen to single digits; and in approximately three months, a decisive victory was secured in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan. With these strategic achievements, China has protected its people’s lives, safety and health, and made a significant contribution to safeguarding regional and global public health. China has begun to open its economic and social activities in a prudent and orderly manner and come out of the difficult times.

 

Well-Coordinated Prevention, Control and Treatment

 

The coronavirus caught China unawares. Putting people’s lives and health first, the Chinese government has acted swiftly to fight the virus and provide medical treatment for patients. It has adopted the most thorough, rigorous and comprehensive prevention and control measures, enforced quarantine and isolation on a scale never seen before in Wuhan, Hubei Province, and mobilized medical resources across the country. It has ensured that all those in need have been tested, quarantined, hospitalized or treated. With these measures in place, China has prevented a wider spread and further development of the virus. As of May 31, the medical bills of 58,000 patients with confirmed infections had been settled by basic medical insurance, with a total expenditure of RMB1.35 billion, or RMB23,000 per person. The average cost for treating Covid-19 patients in severe condition surpassed RMB150,000, and in some critical cases the individual cost exceeded RMB1 million, all covered by the state. At the same time, China has accelerated the R&D and application of medicines, vaccines, and new test kits. So far, four inactivated vaccines and one adenovirus vector vaccine have been approved for clinical trials.

 

Assembling a powerful force to beat the virus

 

The 1.4 billion Chinese people have plunged themselves into the battle against the epidemic. Resilient and united, they represent a formidable force. Medical workers, from the very young to the very old, showed no hesitation in confronting the epidemic. At the outset, some 540,000 medical workers from Wuhan and other parts of Hubei plunged into the fray, joined soon by more than 40,000 civilian and military medical workers who rushed from other parts of the country. Millions of medical workers grappled with the epidemic at the front line across the country. Showing professional devotion and a deep respect for life, many of them risked their own lives, racing against time and working round the clock to try to save every patient. They endured tremendous fatigue and stress, and paid a heavy price. More than 2,000 medical workers were infected, and scores died in the line of duty. No one is born a hero, yet their selflessness made them fearless. These people, with the nobility, kindness, and devotion that are intrinsic to their profession, have etched an unforgettable chapter in the history of the Chinese nation and in the hearts of the Chinese people. On April 4, the Chinese traditional Tomb-sweeping Day, China paid tribute to all those who had given their lives in the fight against Covid-19, and those who had died of the disease. This solemn national ceremony demonstrates that the country respects and holds in awe the dignity and lives of people as individuals. It signifies the solidarity and strength of 1.4 billion Chinese.

 

Building a global community of health for all

 

At the time when the situation in China was at its most difficult, the international community provided valuable support and assistance to our country and our people. China appreciates the understanding and support of the international community, which our people will always cherish. We are now doing all we can to support the international community in the fight against the coronavirus. China has provided support for global virus prevention and control by promptly sharing information and experience with the international community. It wasted no time in releasing information such as the whole coronavirus genome sequence and the specific primers and probes for detecting the coronavirus to the WHO and other relevant countries and regional organizations. Having kept WHO and other countries informed with regular updates, and exchanged prevention and control experience with them, China  provided basic support for global epidemic prevention.

Even while under the tremendous pressure of coronavirus control, China has moved quickly to provide as much assistance to the international community as it can. It has provided two batches of cash support totaling US$50 million to the WHO, announced the suspension of debt repayments from 77 developing countries, dispatched 29 medical expert teams to 27 countries. China has offered assistance to 150 countries and 4 international organizations, instructed its medical teams stationed in 56 countries to support the local fight against the epidemic.

The Covid-19 global pandemic is the most extensive to afflict humanity in a century. A serious crisis for the entire world, and a daunting challenge, it poses a grave threat to human life and health. This is a war that humanity has to fight and win. Having forged the idea that the world is a global community of shared future, and believing that it must act as a responsible member, China has fought shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world. China firmly believes that as long as all countries unite and cooperate to mount a collective response, the international community will succeed in overcoming the pandemic, and will emerge from this dark moment in human history into a brighter future.

 

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