Through decisive meatures and arduous efforts, both China and New Zealand have successfully contained the COVID-19 virus and onto the track of economic and social recovery. But the global fight against the pandemic is far from over, the international community will face even greater difficulties and challenges. It is important for all nations to forge unity to win this battle. It is also important for countries like China and New Zealand to share experiences and learn from each other so that we can better address the challenges in the future.
One June. 7th, China issued a white paper on the country’s battle against COVID-19, chronicling our painstaking yet effective efforts to contain the novel coronavirus while sharing our experience for the world to defeat the pandemic.
China’s fight against the COVID-19 epidemic is a shared memory of the 1.4 billion Chinese people. Facing this unknown, unexpected, and devastating disease, China launched a resolute battle to prevent and control its spread. As a major public health emergency, COVID-19 epidemic has spread faster and wider than any other since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and has proven to be the most difficult to contain.
In an all-out nationwide effort to save as many lives as possible, the Chinese Government has taken the most comprehensive, the strictest and the most thorough prevention and control measures to combat the outbreak. As soon as cases of pneumonia of unknown cause were identified in Wuhan City on December 27th, 2019, China acted immediately to conduct etiological and epidemiological investigations and to stop the spread of the disease, and promptly reported the situation. After community spread and clusters of cases emerged in Wuhan, a nationwide program of epidemic prevention and control was launched. Chinese President Xi Jinping then gave instructions that Wuhan and other places in Hubei Province enforce strict restrictions on the movement of people and outbound travel. To further contain the spread of the disease, all kinds of measures were taken, including building a community-based line of defense, breaking the chains of transmission through early intervention, and strengthening legal safeguards for epidemic prevention and control.
During the Wuhan lockdown, 346 national medical teams and 42,600 medical workers had been dispatched to help Hubei and Wuhan, which was the biggest medical aid operation since the establishment of the PRC. The infected patients were treated in dedicated medical facilities where medical specialists from all over the country and all the necessary medical resources were concentrated. Both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine were applied. A condition-specific and category-based approach was applied to medical treatment of patients. The costs of treatment for patients were all covered by the government.
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 cases had fallen to single digits; and in approximately three months, the epicenter of Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan was lifted from lockdown, marking the resumption of work and social activities.
China is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind. As a responsible major country, China has shared information with the WHO and other countries in an open and transparent manner. China notified the WHO about the outbreak updates on January 5, one day after it warned the US, and shared the preliminary research of the virus’ etiology to the WHO on January 9. Ever since January 11, China has kept notifying the WHO and other countries on a daily basis, and on January 12, China shared with the WHO about the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus. The work of the Chinese government and Chinese scientists can stand the test of time.
China has also actively assisted countries around the world in fighting the pandemic. We have dispatched 29 medical expert teams to 27 countries to help them fight the virus, and is now providing viral control assistance to 150 countries and four international organizations. During the WHA meeting, President Xi Jinping announced a series of concrete measures, including a pledge of 2 billion U.S. dollars for international aid over two years. To date, four inactivated vaccines and one adenovirus vaccine have been approved for clinical trials in China. As President Xi pointed out, China will make its COVID-19 vaccine “a global public good” when it is ready for application.
Solidarity and cooperation as the most powerful weapon available to the international community against COVID-19 and a deepening global recession. There is an overwhelming aspiration for multilateralism, and commitment to building a global community of shared future. It is imperative for the international community to come together, abandon prejudice and arrogance, resist scapegoating and other such self-serving artifices, and stand against stigmatization and politicization of the virus.
China and New Zealand have a lot in common in our success. Among others are strong leadership, people-centered approach, scientific and strict prevention and control measures, strong enforcement, whole of society efforts, efficient resource mobilization, practical and effective international cooperation, and strong commitment to the multilateral public health system, etc. What is more important, the success proves that countries big or small, developed or developing, can prevail over the enemy of virus if they are determined to work together.
Now, both China and New Zealand have put economic and social recovery as one of the top priorities. Over the past few months, I have been discussing the potential opportunities with the colleagues of the New Zealand government and friends from various walks of life. With the brilliant ideas emerging from the interactions, positive feedback and the strong support from both sides, I am confident that we will work out smart and safe ways to reinvigorate all-round cooperation. The two countries will work more closely to bring tangible benefits to our two peoples.
The pandemic will have a significant impact on the development of humanity, but the people’s longing for a happy life will remain unchanged. The sun will always shine again after a storm. As long as the we can cherish hopes and dreams, can embrace the idea of a global community of shared future, and can unite in pursuit of a common goal, we will be able to overcome all our current difficulties and challenges, and build a better world for all.