Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Government of the People’s Republic of China says the 2020 Chinese Spring Festival remains unforgettable as a result of the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus.
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian, while briefing reporters in Abuja, said all that is needed in the prevailing circumstances is solidarity.
He declared that China is fully capable and confident of winning the battle of epidemic prevention and control at an early date.
Zhou disclosed that as of 7:00 am Monday, China’s National Health Commission reported that the total number of confirmed cases of the virus climbed to 17205, and 21558 people were suspected of being infected with the virus in the Chinese mainland.
The envoy further said a total number of 361 people had died of the disease so far, adding that 475 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.
“These are not numbers. These are lives, families and communities. This is going to be an unforgettable Spring Festival for the Chinese, as families are separated, but united to stand together in the face of the disease,” Zhou said.
The Chinese Ambassador further said China attached great importance to the epidemic, adding that China has built a nationwide prevention and control system, focusing on Wuhan and Hubei, from the central government to the local level, even as he said work in all aspects was underway.
While saying that all aspects of work were open and transparent, Ambassador Zhou said the Chinese government was speeding up progress in a scientific and orderly manner.
“All things considered, the epidemic can be contained, controlled and treated. The Chinese nation has gone through great winds and waves and overcome countless difficulties. We believe that under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Government, the people of the whole country will unite as one, and be fully capable and confident to win this battle of epidemic prevention and control at an early date. The 1000-bed makeshift hospital in Wuhan, which was built in nine days, and is in full operation today, speaks volumes,” Ambassador Zhou added.
The envoy further noted that fighting the spread of the epidemic was a common concern of the international community, adding that China was willing to work with other countries in the world, including Nigeria, to respond to the epidemic actively.
He said the Government of China had informed the World Health Organisation (WHO), relevant countries and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan of the latest epidemic situation and have shared information on virus gene sequences with all parties at the first time.
On the declaration of the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern by the WHO, Ambassador Zhou said even the WHO, through its director-general, clearly stated that the main reason for the declaration was not because of what is happening in China, but about protecting countries with weaker health systems which are ill-prepared to deal with potential spread of the disease.
He added that there was no reason for measures that unnecessarily interferes with international travel and trade.
“WHO doesn’t recommend limiting trade and movement. The Director-General’s recommendation should be seriously considered. Under current circumstances, solidarity is what the world needs. The epidemic is occurring mainly in China, with limited spread to other countries. China has made an enormous contribution to the world with its concrete actions. All countries should adopt a responsible attitude, work together to combat the virus and avoid overreaction that may result in more negative spillover effects.
“Life comes first. The Chinese Government is committed to safeguarding the safety and health of the Chinese people. We will, in a responsible manner, safeguard the safety of every foreign national in China, including the Nigerian expatriates and address their legitimate concerns in a timely manner. We will continue to strengthen communication and coordination with the international community and work hand in hand for epidemic prevention and control,” the Chinese Ambassador stated.