China contributes to global fight against pandemic

By ZhengGuichu
The overall epidemic situation in China has gradually been stabilized with an increasing rate of recovery among patients across the entire country. “As of March 12, no new indigenous cases had been reported for at least 14 consecutive days in 21 provinces, and no such cases had been seen in six other provinces for over a week,” said a news release from a press briefing on March 13 by the State Council inter-agency task force on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. According to the National Health Commission (NHC), March 26 saw 537 patients cured and discharged from hospital in China’s mainland, bringing the tally to 74,588. Facts and figures have attested to China’s effective control of the spread of the epidemic, which has created the conditions for ultimately conquering the virus. Meanwhile, the worldwide fight against the novel coronavirus enters a critical period. The number of confirmed cases had surpassed 460,000 as of March 26. All 27 members of the EU have succumbed to the novel coronavirus, and over 40 African countries have seen confirmed cases. Amid the dire and deteriorating situation, the World Health Organization (WHO) made the assessment on March 11 that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. Mankind’s health and wellbeing are at stake. At this critical juncture, uplifting facts must prevail to debunk false claims. It’s all the more imperative and urgent for countries throughout the world to take up responsibility, move swiftly to stem the spread of the disease, and forge strong lines of defense to jointly fight to find the best method to outpace and finally prevail over this microscopic enemy. To this end, China has contributed a lot to the world, and will continue to help and share with the world till the final victory is sealed. Injecting confidence In the combat against the novel coronavirus, the Chinese Government has made the greatest efforts, adopted the most comprehensive, thorough and rigorous prevention and control measures, and achieved the most remarkable achievements. As there is no silver bullet to address all epidemics, control measures should be customized and contextualized. China has served as the first line of defense against the globally spreading virus, identified the new pathogen and shared the genome sequence at an early date so that other countries do not have to start from scratch, paid a huge cost in life and resources and opened a window of opportunity by updating the world on epidemic developments and sharing key clinical information in a timely fashion, thereby reducing the world’s panic over this unknown deadly virus and getting the world better prepared. With arduous efforts and sacrifice, China has withstood the test of the time and won recognition of the international community. WHO has on multiple occasions commended China for its responsible actions, as emphasized by the joint team of Chinese and WHO officials that “Ambitious, agile and aggressive control measures taken by China to control the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic have altered the curve of the outbreak for the better, averted a large number of potential cases and offered experience in improving the global response to the disease.” United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres acknowledged China’s contribution to the global fight against COVID-19, noting that the Chinese are making efforts for humanity, sacrificing many aspects of normal life to prevent the virus from further spreading. Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to WHO Director General TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesus, said measures such as mass isolation, shutting down transportation and mobilizing the public to abide by hygienic practices have proven effective in curbing a contagious and mysterious disease, especially when the whole society is committed to the measures. “China’s extraordinary response has bought precious time for other countries to fight the virus and made a significant contribution to the world,” President Xi Jinping, also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, pointed out. What China has done and achieved constitutes an important part of the global response, which is strong evidence that China’s decisive response is both right and effective, and that by and large, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus is controllable and the disease curable. Lending a helping hand Despite that China is still fighting this epidemic in its own territory, the government has showed gratitude and goodwill and implemented concrete measures to help the world. China never forgets the political support and medical supplies from other countries and international organizations during its hardest times in the COVID-19 fight, and is engaging in international cooperation, providing as much help as possible to other countries, regions and international organizations. Actions speak louder than words. China has rolled out measures to provide assistance to the world in the following areas, namely: to enhance communication and collaboration with WHO and other countries, to share knowhow and experience, to dispatch health specialists to countries in need, to donate supplies and to cooperate in science and technology, which are all vivid testimonies to China’s fulfillment of international responsibilities. Starting from March 3, the Chinese Foreign Ministry together with the NHC and the Red Cross Society of China have held video conferences with health experts and government officials from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Italy and 10 Pacific island countries to share China’s anti-epidemic experience. On March 18, the Chinese side shared information and experience on COVID-19 at a video conference with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and over 20 African countries. On March 19, China held a video conference to share information and experience on COVID-19 with over 10 European countries. On March 20, a video conference with over 10 Eurasian and South Asian countries, and on March 24, with Latin American and Caribbean countries. China has set up its online COVID-19 knowledge center that is open to all countries. China has published seven guidelines on COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment and six guidelines on prevention and control, sharing with more than 100 countries and over 10 international and regional organizations around the world, according to the NHC. Since February 27, China has sent medical teams to Iran, Iraq, Italy, Serbia and Cambodia to support the countries’ epidemic prevention and control efforts. As of March 11, China had donated 1.1 million masks and other medical materials to the Republic of Korea (ROK), 5,000 sets of protective suits and 100,000 masks to Japan, 5,000 test kits and 250,000 masks to Iran, and 12,000 test kits to Pakistan. Plus, China has announced assistance to 89 countries and regions including Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Serbia, the EU, Cambodia, the Philippines, Egypt, South Africa, Iraq, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Cuba and Chile, delivered medical support to Laos, Thailand, the African Union, among others, and donated $20 million to WHO. Local governments in China have also donated masks, protective gowns, nucleic acid test reagents and other medical supplies to their sister cities in the ROK, Japan, Iran, Italy, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iraq, Malaysia, Laos, Algeria, Tunisia, France, Peru, Angola, Switzerland and Germany. Enterprises, civil institutions and non-governmental organizations are as well swift to make donations and to provide medical supplies to hard-hit regions across the world. The Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation have donated millions of masks, testing reagents and other medical supplies to Japan, the ROK, Iran, the United States, Italy, Spain and other hard-hit countries that have seen rising cases of the novel coronavirus. The Jack Ma Foundation has also allocated a scientific research fund of 100 million yuan ($14.29 million) to support Chinese and overseas research institutes to expedite the creation of a vaccine against COVID-19. The Alibaba Group announced that free access would be offered to its artificial intelligence computing power for public research institutes around the world to develop COVID-19 vaccines and new drugs. China’s source of strength “It showed China’s efficiency and the advantages of China’s system,” remarked Tedrosduring his visit to China on January 19. “While there will be economic costs for China in the short run, I am convinced that it will with time emerge even stronger in its march toward rejuvenation,” observed by William Jones, Washington bureau chief of the Executive Intelligence Review magazine. “It is obvious now that China is winning on the moral front, along with its great success so far in managing the epidemic in an area of 9.6 million square km and a population of 1.4 billion,” commented IsamoldienKhadir A. Elmansour, Charge D’affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan to China. All these formal statements, among others, have rightfully confirmed China’s reliability and sacrifices to safeguard the world in the combat against COVID-19, and are strong footnotes to the remarks of Xi that “the results of the prevention and control work have once again demonstrated the notable advantages of the leadership of the CPC and the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” As a matter of fact, it is widely acknowledged that in this unprecedented war against the novel coronavirus, the Chinese system has clearly demonstrated its institutional advantages in terms of decision-making, mobilization and execution abilities. It is the Chinese political system, with its efficiency, responsiveness and transparency, that has been and will be central and crucial to the final victory in the combat. The essence of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC, whose purpose is to serve the people. Why the CPC? If one reviews the CPC’s struggles and achievements in the broader context of several millennia of Chinese history, particularly the past 100 years or so, and considers three great historical contributions the CPC has made to the Chinese nation, namely: the new democratic revolution in 1919-49 and the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the socialist revolution in 1949-56 and the establishment of socialism as China’s basic system, and the reform and opening-up drive from 1978 up to now and the liberation and development of productive forces, unleashing the creativity of countless ordinary people and significantly enhancing the vitality of society, the living standards of the people and the comprehensive strength and international standing of the country, it is not difficult to see why history and the Chinese people have chosen the CPC. To see that the people run the country, promote the people’s democracy, maintain close ties with the people and rely on them to push forward the country’s development; to serve the people, stand on the side of the people, give top priority to the interests of the people; and to take the support, approval, satisfaction and consent of the people as the fundamental criterion for appraising all the initiatives. These are the guiding theory and practice of the CPC in all its endeavors, reflecting the essential requirements of the political nature of the CPC, and have been well demonstrated in this epidemic fight. In the heroic fight against the outbreak, more than 340 medical teams and over 40,000 medical staff across the country came to support Hubei Province, many of whom are CPC members, having only one goal in their minds: save the people, save more lives. That could partially explain why “China is unique in that it has a political system that can gain public compliance with extreme measures,” as observed by the China-WHO joint expert team after a nine-day field study trip in China, and why the Chinese people from all sectors of society, the police, engineers, workers, doctors, nurses, business and company owners, and students, can be so united, lining up behind their leadership, standing with one heart and following meticulously each and every recommended measure in the epidemic fight. The answer is that the CPC, the Chinese Government and people are of one mind. The CPC is the representative of the Chinese people, and the Chinese people firmly believe in the CPC and in the government’s effort to safeguard the fundamental interests of them. Under the CPC’s leadership, law-based and science-driven strategies and precise prevention and control measures have been applied, and all-government and all-society approaches have been strengthened. Patient beds increased from more than 5,000 to 23,000 in a short term, three makeshift hospitals with 4,000 beds were completed in 29 hours, and three mobile P3 labs expanded the nucleic acid testing capacity to 35,000 persons a day. Eight days to identify the pathogen and share the full genetic sequence of the virus strain with WHO and relevant countries, 16 days to complete the test kit optimization. “Four-early” measures, namely early detection, early reporting, early isolation and early treatment, have been applied. With the Chinese speed, China has been working day and night to save the life of every patient. With the Chinese strength, China has been united as one to contain the further spread of the epidemic. Despite huge costs, the Chinese Government still insists on providing free tests and treatment of COVID-19 to its people, and paying the bill for all the medical fees. It is estimated that the minimum cost of staying at an Intensive Care Unit is about 3,000 yuan ($423) each day, 60,000-100,000 yuan ($8,464-14,107) if the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation is activated, and the total costs for some patients to recover would reach 300,000-400,000 yuan ($42,321-56,428). In a word, under the leadership of the CPC, the advantages of the Chinese political system have been given full play in the manifestation of Chinese speed, Chinese efficiency and Chinese effectiveness. “The CPC and the Chinese people are more than confident that we can offer the Chinese solution to human society for people to explore for a better social system,” Xi said in his speech at a ceremony marking the 95th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. The path, the system and the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics have kept developing. It offers a new option for other countries and nations that want to speed up their development while preserving their independence, and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind. A community with a shared future The global public health crisis reveals again that our future is intertwined and interdependent, and that mankind belongs to a community with a shared future. No country is immune to globetrotting viruses. The only way out is to fight the virus together, and that is the shared responsibility of all. China advocates a community with a shared future for humankind, proposing that all countries work together to turn pressure into impetus, turn crisis into opportunity and replace confrontation with cooperation. China is ready to seek a broader convergence of interests with all countries, with a view to establishing a new model of international relations based on mutually beneficial cooperation. Preserving world peace and promoting common development are the core tenets of China’s foreign policy. China has, from the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak, acted in an open and transparent manner in releasing relevant information to the world and has been maintaining close communication and cooperation with the international community, in a firm belief that the friendship and mutual trust between China and the world will be further deepened through global joint efforts in combating the virus, thus creating broader prospects for comprehensive cooperation. The novel coronavirus outbreak has laid bare inadequacies in the global public health governance system and highlighted the urgency to buttress the system. China firmly supports international efforts to strengthen global public health governance, to step up policy coordination, to mobilize more resources and, in particular, to help developing countries with weak public health systems to strengthen prevention and preparedness. China supports the core role of the UN and WHO in responding to public health emergencies and in improving the global public health governance, epidemic monitoring, early warning, information sharing and emergency responding mechanisms. Lack of preparedness for epidemics is prevalent worldwide. According to the Global Health Security Index published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in the assessment of global health security capabilities in 195 countries, no country is fully prepared for epidemics or pandemics. China calls on all countries to build and sustain resilient national, regional and global capacities required to keep the world safe from epidemics and other health emergencies, to implement the health-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to strengthen the prevention and treatment of major communicable diseases, and to ensure fair and accessible healthcare services to realize health coverage for all. Biomedical research cooperation is essential in prevention and control efforts. China is ready to collaborate with the world in medicines, vaccines and testing reagents, to improve the mechanism of responding to health and epidemic emergencies, to promote the exchange of epidemiological information and prevention and control experiences, and to implement cooperation in the areas of diagnosis, treatment and research programs. The novel coronavirus outbreak won’t be the last major emergency. Mankind is yet to be tested by new traditional and non-traditional challenges. Tedros has repeatedly called on the international community to stand together and stop politicizing and stigmatizing, warning that “the greatest enemy we face is not the virus itself; it’s the stigma that turns us against each other. We must stop stigma and hate!” The novel coronavirus represents global challenges which no nation can solve alone or simply “opt out” from. The outbreak is a fresh reminder that mankind has a shared destiny. Combating COVID-19 can be a benchmark for collaboration for solidarity, trust and better global governance. –The Daily Mail-Beijing Review news exchange item