Chinese ambassador’s response on the pneumonia epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus | 07 February 2020
‘We have full confidence and capability to win the battle against the epidemic’
Since the outbreak of the pneumonia epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus, it has drawn the attention of the world, including Seychelles. The different sectors of Seychelles show great concern about the situation and have many questions about it. Today I would like to give response to the questions they mostly focus on.
- What’s the latest updates on the epidemic in China？
China is now in a critical period of epidemic control. As of 24:00 on Feb 5, the Chinese National Health Commission had received 28,018 reports of confirmed cases (mainly in Hubei province with 19,665 cases and especially in its capital Wuhan with 10,117 cases), and 563 deaths in 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland (Hubei province with 549 deaths and its capital Wuhan with 414 deaths). In all 1,153 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital. One important reason for the rapid increase in confirmed cases is that China has developed effective coronavirus-detection reagent in a short time, so we are able to quickly identify infected people.
With China's unremitting efforts, the fatality rate of the novel coronavirus nationwide has been controlled under 2 percent, far lower than the rate of any other epidemic such as Ebola, H1N1, SARS and MERS.
- What’s the key protection and control measures taken by the Chinese government？Is the situation getting better?
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the central and local government have built an all-round and multi-level prevention and control system focusing on Wuhan city and Hubei province as core areas, in order to curb the spread of the epidemic to other provinces in China and to the world. The 1.4 billion Chinese of the whole country from different sectors and the overseas Chinese have made great efforts to combat the epidemic. And we are advancing the battle in an open, transparent, scientific and orderly manner.
We are now strengthening case treatment to reduce severe and fatal cases. We set up a national expert group on scientific research to speed up the development of vaccines. We accelerate the approval and clinical use of drugs proven to be effective against the virus. World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general said China is setting a new standard for outbreak response. Many of the measures have far exceeded what International Health Regulations (IHR) required.
China has mobilised personnel from all over the country to support Hubei province. It took less than 10 days to build the first specialised hospital named Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan. The hospital has 1,400 PLA medical personnel and 1,000 beds, which will play an important role in controlling the epidemic. It is termed by foreign media as super fast. The construction of another specialised hospital named Leishenshan Hospital is going to be completed soon. The city has converted its sports stadium and two convention centres into three mobile cabin hospitals in less than 3 days to provide medical treatment for patients testing positive for the virus but show no severe symptoms with a total capacity of 3,400 beds. From February 5, the Cabin hospitals started receiving patients.
The prevention and control work is achieving positive results; cured cases have exceeded fatal ones by a significant margin, and the increase of suspected cases is slowing down. The epidemic is generally preventable, controllable and curable. We have full confidence and capability to win the battle against the epidemic.
- What did China do in the field of international cooperation on fighting the epidemic?
While fighting the epidemic, the Chinese government carried out international cooperation with openness, transparency and high sense of responsibility. China quickly identified the virus and shared its sequence with WHO, relevant nations and regions in a timely manner. Chinese diplomatic missions overseas also keep close communication with the host governments to timely brief on China's prevention and control efforts.
“The speed with which China detected the outbreak, isolated the virus, sequenced the genome and shared it with WHO and the world are very impressive, and beyond words. So is China's commitment to transparency and to supporting other countries...That reflects not only China's high sense of responsibility for the lives and health of its own people, but also its strong support for global disease prevention and control,” said WHO director-general Ghebreyesus.
He said he believes that China will effectively contain and eventually defeat the epidemic, adding that China's efforts to combat the disease deserve respect and appreciation, and are worth learning.
Ghebreyesus said specifically that declaring a public health emergency of international concern is not a vote of no confidence in China. On the contrary, 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.
As Ghebreyesus emphasised: “This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumours. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma”.
We hope all countries will see the epidemic and China's efforts in an impartial and rational manner, follow IHR provisions and the professional, authoritative advice of WHO, and take proper measures that won't unnecessarily interfere with international travel. And China stands ready to further enhance international cooperation in combating the epidemic and jointly safeguard public health safety in the region and the world at large.
- How did China cooperate with Seychelles to prevent and control the epidemic and protect the health and safety of Seychellois students in China？
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China has been in close contact with Seychelles to keep it informed of the epidemic development and China's prevention and control efforts.
Chinese embassy attaches great importance to Seychellois students in China, especially in Wuhan. In the first time, we contacted the Chinese Ministry of Education and Chinese universities to follow up on the situation constantly and to make sure that the students were all well and helped to solve their problems. Besides, we had close contact with DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) to inform them of the students’ latest situation, and with the joint efforts of Chinese authorities, we helped in facilitating the safe movement of the students. H.E. Mr Danny Faure, the President of the Republic of Seychelles, has addressed a letter to H.E. Mr Xi Jinping, the President of the People's Republic of China, to express sympathy and support in fighting the epidemic. I firmly believe that with the concerted efforts of the international community, we will be able to defeat the virus and win the final victory against the epidemic.