China to provide $2b in aid for virus combat: Xi

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-Defends China’s virus combat efforts and transparency
-Offers vaccine when ready
-Supports an independent inquiry into the handling of pandemic after it is brought under control

DM Monitoring

BEIJING: China will provide 2 billion U.S. dollars over two years to help with COVID-19 response and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries, said Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday.
Xi made the remarks at the opening of the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) via video link at the invitation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The 73rd session of the WHA, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, is being held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 and selection of executive board members are on the agenda. The Chinese president mourned for every life lost to COVID-19 globally and expressed condolence to the bereaved families.”In China, after making painstaking efforts and enormous sacrifice, we have turned the tide on the virus and protected the life and health of our people,” Xi said.Noting that China has all along acted with openness, transparency and responsibility in the fight against COVID-19, Xi said China has shared control and treatment experience with the world without reservation and has done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need.China’s proposals
In his address, President Xi on Monday made six proposals to bring COVID-19 under control. The most urgent task is to “do everything we can for COVID-19 control and treatment,” Xi noted and called for curbing the global spread of the virus and stemming cross-border transmission as soon as possible. The Chinese president voiced firm support to the WHO saying the organization should lead the global response.
“At this crucial juncture, to support WHO is to support international cooperation and the battle for saving lives as well,” he added.
President Xi also urged the world to provide greater support for Africa and pointed out helping developing countries especially African countries with weaker public health system should be the world’s top priority in COVID-19 response.
According to Xi, China has assisted to over 50 African countries and the African Union since the outbreak and five teams of Chinese medical experts have also been sent to the African continent. 46 resident Chinese medical teams are also in Africa helping with COVID-19 containment efforts locally.
“We must strengthen global governance in the area of public health,” Xi said, and added China supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the global response to COVID-19 after it is brought under control to sum up the experience and address deficiencies.
“This work should be based on science and professionalism, led by WHO and conducted in an objective and impartial manner,” he added. The Chinese president also emphasized restoring economic and social development globally and calling for keeping global industrial and supply chains stable and unclogged when conditions permit. Saying “mankind is a community with a shared future,” Xi also stressed that the world should strengthen international cooperation as solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon for defeating the virus. China takes it as its responsibility to ensure not just the life and health of its own citizens, but also global public health, Xi said in his address, calling for building a global community of health for all.
In addition to the 2 billion U.S. dollar worth aid package, the Chinese president also announced that China will work with the UN to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China. China will establish a cooperation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals and accelerate the building of the Africa CDC headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity, he added.
COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good, which will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries, Xi said. President Xi also noted China will work with other G20 members to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries.