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China's Answer to Global Anti-pandemic

Consul General of China in Kota Kinabalu Liang Caide

    Since year 2020, a pandemic with the widest impact in nearly 100 years has swept across the world. More than 200 countries and regions, including China, have been affected, and more than 6 million cases have been diagnosed globally. In this severe battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, 1.4 billion Chinese citizens, under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping and the Chinese government, have achieved a major strategic victory in the epidemic prevention and control through arduous efforts. China has protected its people’s lives, safety and health, and made a significant contribution to safeguarding regional and global public health.

    On June 7, China's State Council Information Office published a white paper titled “Fighting COVID-19: China in Action”*. In 37,000 words, it keeps a record of China’s efforts in its own fight against the virus, to share its experience and approach with the rest of the world, and to clarify its ideas and proposition on the global battle. At the critical moment when the world is facing the pandemic crisis, this crucial document not only conveys the confidence and strength of solidarity and cooperation among international communities to defeat the pandemic, but also brings inspiration and motivation to the global anti-epidemic cause. It also has a worldwide scientific value.

    1. Great Strength Manifested from Hardship

    Covid-19 outbreak is a major public health emergency. The virus has spread faster and wider than any other since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and has proven to be the most difficult to contain. Confronting this sudden onslaught of previously unknown and menacing virus, the Chinese government addresses the epidemic as a top priority and calmly responds, taking unprecedented large-scale quarantine and isolation measures and mobilizing national resources to conduct nation-wide medical treatment. 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. For a big country with a population of 1.4 billion, such achievements are hard-won!

    However, there are arduous processes, huge prices and great sacrifices behind the achievements of China’s anti-epidemic. The white paper divides China's anti-epidemic process into five stages, namely, swift response to the public health emergency, initial progress in containing the virus, newly confirmed domestic cases in the Chinese Mainland drop to single digits, Wuhan and Hubei - an initial victory in a critical battle, and ongoing prevention and control. The white paper records China’s anti-epidemic actions with detailed data and facts by using a timeline to show the key nodes and historical moments of all stages. As a transportation hub, Wuhan, a mega-city with a population of 10 million, was locked down for 76 consecutive days. Hubei, a large economic province with a GDP of 4 trillion RMB Yuan, had outbound traffic restriction imposed in one night. The 1000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital and 1,600-bed Leishenshan Hospital were built in 10 days and 12 days respectively. 540,000 medical staff from Hubei involved in rescue patients, and more than 40,000 medical personnel from the country assisted in Hubei. Nearly 930,000 tons of anti-epidemic materials and living necessities were delivered to Hubei from the country in less than two months times. 4 million of community workers are guarding 650,000 urban and rural communities across the country day and night... These are the “photo albums” of the Chinese people's fight against the COVID-19. More than 2,000 medical staff were infected by the virus. Works, businesses, productions and schools in all places have stopped. National GDP fell by 6.8% in the first quarter... China has paid huge prices amid the pandemic.

    Nevertheless, actual practices have proved that China's strategies and tactics of anti-epidemic are appropriate and effective. By establishing joint prevention and control mechanisms involving governments at all levels and the whole society, China effectively blocked the virus transmission chain by non-pharmaceutical means, survived the unexpected crisis, and achieved impressively good results in the unprepared “closed-book test”. China has interpreted the courage and responsibility of major country with accountable actions, made significant contributions in safeguarding the regional and global public health security, and has also bolstered other countries’ confidence and rallied the strength into their fight against the disease.

    2. People’s Lives are Precious

    Serving the people wholeheartedly and putting the interests of the people first at all times are the governance objectives of the Chinese government. Amid the anti-epidemic, the Chinese government has always maintained a clear-cut attitude of being responsible to the people and their life. It employed extraordinary measures to deal with an extraordinary emergency, and has fully safeguarded the people's rights to live well and be healthy. As said by President Xi Jinping: “Amid the epidemic, we resolutely pressed the “pause button” for economic and social development in order to prevent and control the disease, and paid a high price to put people's lives and health in the first place. People live only once, and it must be saved. Everything we do is based on this principle.” The whole white paper embodies this sentiment.

    Putting people’s lives and health first, the Chinese government has coordinated comprehensively to prevent and control the disease, and at the same time to provide medical treatment for patients when the outbreak occurred. It has adopted the most extensive, stringent, and thorough containment measures, in order to solve the problem of running-out of medical resources, stem the spread of virus, and reduce the risk of infection of the people. In the early stage of the epidemic, China made raising the cure rate and lowering the fatality rate its top priority. To rapidly replenish the medical capabilities, it dispatched more than 42,000 medical personnel from all over the country to Hubei, which is severely affected at the time, especially in the Wuhan area; it mobilized a large amount of resources to support Wuhan to build Huoshenshan Hospital, Reishenshan Hospital and dozens of temporary treatment centers within a short period of time, and to ensure the admission capacity of designated hospitals, as to realize government vows to leave no COVID-19 patients unattended; it insisted on being consistent as always and spared no effort to treat each patient including those severe cases. A large amount of high-cost “artificial lung” equipment (ECMO), other urgently needed medical equipment and materials were deployed, purchased and successively shipped to Wuhan and other places. To get rid of people’s worries about the treatment expenses, it allowed reimbursement of diagnosed patients according to regulations.

    Elderly patients are among the most difficult to treat. Custom treatment was given to elderly patients with underlying diseases. As long as there was the slightest hope, doctors would never give up, and the need for personnel, medicines, equipment, or funds was met. To date, more than 3,000 patients over the age of 80 in Hubei Province, including 7 centenarians, who have been cured, with many of them brought back to life from the verge of death.

    3. Building a Global Community of Health for All

    Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons for the international community to overcome the pandemic. The white paper pointed out that all countries should plan for the development of mankind and future generations. Upholding the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind, we shall work together, help each other to overcome the pandemic, and jointly build a global community of health for all. In the course of the global pandemic, China shoulders the responsibility of a major country, and promotes international cooperation in combating the disease through practical actions in building a community of common health for mankind.

    In phone calls or meetings with nearly 50 foreign leaders and heads of international organizations since the outbreak, President Xi Jinping called on all parties to build a global community of shared future, strengthen cooperation in order to work together to meet the challenge. 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 for global epidemic prevention and control were put forward and five major measures for global anti-epidemic cooperation were announced. This fully demonstrates China’s sense of responsibility as a major country, helping others as China and the world share a common destiny.

    Promoting the international cooperation in anti-pandemic, China is always consistent in keeping its promises and resolute in actions: China firmly supports Worth Health Organization as a leading role in the global anti-epidemic process, promptly shares information and experience with the international community, and held an international briefing via video link on China’s experience in Covid-19 together with WHO; China wasted no time in releasing information such as the whole coronavirus genome sequence and provided unreversed measures adopted on COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control; China had sent 29 medical expert teams to 27 countries, and offered assistance to 150 countries and 4 international organizations. It has instructed its medical teams stationed in 56 countries to support the local epidemic prevention and control work; China actively participates in and implements the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries together with other G20 members...

    The people of China appreciate and cherish the understanding and support of the international community. The Chinese nation never forgets the help and generosity it receives, and always reciprocates with the same goodwill. President Xi Jinping has solemnly announced that, “The Covid-19 vaccine to be used as a global public product once it is developed and deployed in China, This will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.” This white paper also calls on the global scientific community to further strengthen cooperation in vaccine development, which is a key link to overcome the pandemic.

    4. Conclusion

    Amid anti-pandemic, China and Malaysia, Sabah have always help and support each other, sharing weal and woes, and can be regarded as a role model of international cooperation in anti-pandemic. China's difficult journey of fighting against the COVID-19 is not only a glorious portrait of the Chinese nation constantly growing up in tribulations, but also a strong message where China and the world share a common destiny. The Chinese people will always remember this period in history, constantly drawing wisdom and strength from it, work together with all countries in the world to protect the life and health of all mankind, and work with people of all countries to create a better future for mankind development.

* Link of the full version of white paper:Fighting COVID-19: China in Action

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