Paulinus Aidoghie, Abuja
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian, has said that the Chinese government would not welcome any discrimination against any Chinese national as a result of the outbreak of the 2019 novel Coronavirus.
Speaking exclusively with Sunday Sun after an enlarged press briefing on the outbreak of the virus in Abuja, Zhou admitted that the epidemic took China unawares, even as he said that China has been very responsible in the handling of the outbreak.
According to Zhou, “that is not the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) and we don’t want to see it. Like the Director-General of the WHO said, this is time for solidarity, not stigma.”
Earlier during the media briefing, Zhou had said that the 2020 Chinese Spring Festival remained unforgettable as a result of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, while also saying that all that was needed by the international community in the prevailing circumstances was solidarity.
The Chinese envoy disclosed that China was fully capable and confident of winning the battle of the epidemic prevention and control at an early date.
The Chinese ambassador further said that China attached great importance to the epidemic, even as he said that China has built a nationwide prevention and control system, focusing on Wuhan and Hubei, from the central government to the local level, and work in all aspects was underway.
Economically, can you quantify what China has lost so far since the outbreak?
Economically, I think that is enormous. It is not easy to access at this moment.
On the international scene, how battered is the image of China since the outbreak of the epidemic?
I think since the outbreak of this epidemic, China has been very responsible.
Did the epidemic take China unawares?
I think so.
Did it also take the health sector unawares not to have discovered it on time?
I think we have handled it in good time. And as the name goes, it is a novel Coronavirus. No one knew it before.
Why is it taking China a lot of time to contain it?
That is something very scientific.
The fear that it will spread to Nigeria is still there. Beyond issuing travel advice, what else is China ready to do to ensure that it doesn’t spread to other countries?
I think it is already the coordination of the WHO. This is a global fight about the epidemic. China has done its part and I think every country has a part to play.
Following the outbreak, do you foresee any future discriminatory acts against China by foreign countries?
That is not the recommendation of the WHO and we don’t want to see it. Like the Director-General of the WHO said, this is time for solidarity, not stigma.
Is China going to change its traditional diet, mode of eating, as some people have alleged that the outbreak was as a result of eating live animals like rat?
I think harsh measures about the wild life deal have already being implemented.