Fighting COVID-19 To Build A Global Community of Health For All, By Zhou Pingjian
The great force running through this arduous journey has become China’s firm confidence and strong will to overcome difficulties and challenges, to support the country and the world to jointly protect the lives and health of the people, to safeguard the common homeland of mankind, and to jointly build a global community of health for all.
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. China, through arduous efforts, has for now succeeded in cutting all channels of the transmission of the virus. Having forged the idea that the world is a global community of a shared future, and believing that it must act as a responsible member, China has fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the world.
On June 7, the State Council Information Office of China published a white paper titled “Fighting Covid-19: China in Action”. The 37,000-word document records the Chinese people’s battle against the virus, shares with the international community China’s experience in curbing the virus and clarifies China’s stance in fighting the virus.
The COVID-19 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. Under the personal command of President Xi Jinping and the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the whole nation has waged an all-out people’s war on the virus. Thanks to the people-centered governance philosophy of the CPC and China’s ability to mobilise resources to accomplish major initiatives, 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; and rapidly mobilised the manpower and resources of the whole nation; and done everything possible to protect the lives and health of its people.
Through painstaking efforts and tremendous sacrifice, and having paid a heavy price, China has succeeded in turning the situation around. The white paper, which faithfully records five stages and 126 important moments in a timeline of China’s fight against the epidemic, demonstrates key policies, measures and achievements of China in coping with the epidemic. 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. As of the end of May, a cumulative total of 83,017 confirmed cases had been reported on the Chinese mainland, 78,307 infected had been cured and discharged from hospital, and 4,634 people had died. This reveals a cure rate of 94.3 per cent and a fatality rate of 5.6 per cent.
COVID-19 is currently raging all over the world, and lives are being lost to it every day. The situation in Nigeria and Africa remains grave, as well. In the face of this serious crisis, humanity, once again, stands at a crossroads. Every country has a choice to make. China believes that all countries should make the choice that is right for the interests of all humanity and the wellbeing of our future generations. Upholding the vision of a global community of a shared future, we should support each other and join hands to contain the spread of the virus, and protect the health and wellbeing of people across the globe.
China had been carrying out exchanges and cooperation with the international community from the outset. It has strengthened high-level communication, shared information, and cooperated in scientific research with international organisations and other countries, and done all it can to provide assistance, contributing ingenuity and strength to the global fight against the coronavirus.
President Xi has personally promoted international cooperation. On May 18, he addressed the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, calling for a joint effort on the part of all countries to overcome the virus and build a global community of health for all. Six proposals were put forward: To do everything we can for COVID-19 control and treatment; to support the World Health Organisation (WHO) in leading the global response; to provide greater support for Africa; to strengthen global governance in public health; to restore economic and social development; and to strengthen international cooperation. He also announced a series of major measures that China would take in supporting the global fight, including US$2 billion of international aid over two years; the establishment of a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, in cooperation with the United Nations; the establishment of a cooperation mechanism for Chinese hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals; the building of the Africa Centre for Disease Prevention and Control headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity; ensuring access to the COVID-19 vaccine to be used as a global public product, once it is developed and deployed in China; and the implementation of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries, alongside other G20 members.
China has shared information and experience with the international community. China wasted no time in releasing information, such as the whole coronavirus genome sequence and the specific primers and probes for detecting the virus to the WHO and other relevant countries and regional organisations, and has kept them informed with regular updates. The “delay” and “cover-up” accusations fabricated by politicians from certain countries are totally baseless and is scapegoating. The National Health Commission has worked out diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control solutions, had them translated into three languages, and shared them with over 180 countries, including Nigeria. China has held video conferences with health experts from over 170 countries to share our proven protocols of diagnosis, treatment and control without any reservation. Among them, Chinese medical experts have held over 30 virtual exchanges with the African side. Nigerian Health minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has consecutively attended all four video conferences on technical exchange on COVID-19 between China and Africa.
China has provided humanitarian assistance to the international community. 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. China has also been active in providing medical aid to other countries. As of the end of May, China had sent 29 medical expert teams to 27 countries, and offered assistance to 150 countries and four international organisations. A total of eight teams with 148 medical workers have been sent to 11 African countries and two patches of governmental medical supplies have been donated to the Nigerian government. The medical teams, so far, organised over 400 online and offline training sessions in this regard. Local governments, enterprises, non-governmental organisations and individuals in China have donated materials to more than 150 countries and regions, and international organisations through various channels.
As the white paper said, “The pandemic will have a significant impact on the development of humanity, but the people’s longing for a happy life will remain unchanged. Peace, development, and win-win cooperation will prevail.” The great force running through this arduous journey has become China’s firm confidence and strong will to overcome difficulties and challenges, to support the country and the world to jointly protect the lives and health of the people, to safeguard the common homeland of mankind, and to jointly build a global community of health for all.
Zhou Pingjian is ambassador of China to Nigeria.