Keep calm and work shoulder to shoulder to fight the 2019-nCoV

Ambassador Huangs photoRecently, an outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), first identified in Wuhan City of China, has gradually spread all over China and to 24 other countries in the world. State leaders and high officials around the world have extended letters of condolences to or held telephone talks with Chinese leaders to show their understanding, support of and confidence in China’s unprecedented measures to prevent and control the epidemic. I’d like to express my special thanks to H.E. David Panuelo, President of the FSM, for his letter to H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping, expressing his strong support and sympathy for the Chinese government and people.

Though the 2019-nCoV epidemic looks formidable and menacing, it’s actually not as horrible as people may imagine. According to a WHO report released on February 5th, there are altogether 191 confirmed cases outside China, which is less than 0.8% percent of the number in China. With China’s unrelenting efforts, the mortality rate in China is about 2.0%. In contrast, according to the media reports, in 2009, the H1N1 flu in the US spread to 214 countries and regions, which was estimated to have infected more than 60,800,000 people in the US with a mortality rate of 17.4%, causing the death of more than 284,500 people around the world. Due to the flu’s uncontrolled spread, the WHO gave up counting the total confirmed cases globally. The mortality rate of MERS of 2012 was 34.4% and Ebola 40.4%.

Here, I’d like to responsibly tell our FSM friends that the pneumonia caused by 2019-nCoV is totally preventable, controllable and curable.

The Chinese government has always put people’s safety and health as the first priority, thus the prevention and control of the epidemic is currently the most important work of the Chinese government and people. H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the PRC, has made important instructions on many occasions and chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, which established the Central Committee's leading group on responding to the epidemic, in order to guide the governments at all levels nationwide to take a series of timely and decisive measures. For instance, we initiated frequent communication and discussions through media to raise public awareness of disease prevention. We reduced chance of infection by canceling grand assemblies, wearing face masks, reducing private gatherings, extending the Spring Festival holidays. We optimized the protocol of case discovery and management in multiple ways like backtracking the cell phone positioning and doing surveys about travel history and visits by relatives and friends, further reducing chance of transmission. We made additional efforts to prevent and control infections in health care facilities. A substantial number of provinces and municipalities have engaged in public transportation restrictions to various extends. China has established an all-around and multi-level epidemic prevention and control system, centering on Hubei Province and its capital, Wuhan, and covering the central and the local level. The work of all aspects is advanced in an open, transparent, scientific and orderly manner. Up to February 5th, in terms of both total and newly reported confirmed cases, the numbers of those cured and discharged are almost twice as many as the deceased, which clearly signifies that the disease is curable and controllable and that things are turning for the better.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the Chinese government, with an open, transparent and responsible attitude as usual, has conducted active international cooperation, doing its best to safeguard national and global public health security alike. We immediately informed the WHO and relevant countries and regions of the outbreak, and shared technical information and the full gene sequence of the novel coronavirus with them. Chinese agencies abroad have also maintained close communication with the governments of host countries, and updated them on the epidemic and the Chinese side's efforts in a timely manner. The Chinese government will fulfill its international obligations to address the legitimate concerns of the foreign nationals in the country in a timely manner so as to protect their safety with a responsible attitude.

Many of the forceful measures that the Chinese government has taken and will continue to resolutely make sure their effective implementation can hardly be emulated by any other country. With China’s institutional advantages and previous useful experience, and with the strong scientific, technological and material foundation accumulated by the People's Republic of China over the past 70 years, the Chinese government and people, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with President Xi Jinping at its core, have the determination, confidence and ability to win this battle of preventing and controlling the epidemic at an early date. 

Lots of countries and the WHO have positively commented, understood and supported the Chinese side’s prevention and control measures. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said repeatedly on many occasions that it is admirable that the Chinese government has shown its solid political resolve and taken timely and effective measures in dealing with the epidemic. He emphasized that President Xi's personal guidance and deployment show his great leadership capability. By taking those measures, the Chinese side is not only making efforts to protect its own people, but also making great sacrifices to staunchly support the global disease prevention and control, protecting the safety of the whole human race. The WHO firmly supports China's measures against the epidemic, speaks highly of and appreciates China’s major role in and great contribution to the cause of global public health. Mr. Ghebreyesus expressed his full confidence in China for the effective control and eventual prevailing over the epidemic, attributing it to the advantages of China’s system, whose experience is worth learning for other countries.

Mr. Ghebreyesus also pointed out that many prevention and control measures China has taken exceed the relevant requirements of the International Health Regulations (2005) by far, which set a new standard for outbreak response of all countries over the world. The main reason for the declaration of PHEIC is not to express concern over what is happening in China, but what is happening in other countries, especially countries with weaker health systems that need our support to get better-prepared to deal with the virus. Mr. Ghebreyesus called on all countries to take appropriate prevention and control measures that are scientific and reasonable. He voiced WHO’s opposition to excessive reaction, rumors and misinformation, especially the opposition to ban and restrictions on trade and travel, let alone evacuation of foreign citizens from China.

It is the virus we must isolate, not the affection and love among people, for they are exactly the reliance and source of strength for us to overcome the epidemic and all kinds of difficulties against at large. Just as WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus said, the only way we will defeat this outbreak is for all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation. The Chinese side fully understands the concern of the FSM side over public health security. The Chinese government is providing sound assistance and service to the 5 FSM students currently in Wuhan in regard to information sharing, disease prevention and daily livelihood as part of the commitments to do our best to protect the safety, health and well-being of all foreign nationals in China, including the FSM students. We hope people of the FSM and other countries heed and comprehend the professional opinions of the WHO, respect facts and science, understand well and actively support China’s efforts in preventing and controlling 2019-nCoV, view the epidemic in an objective and rational manner so as to keep away unnecessary panic. The Chinese people stand ready to make concerted efforts with the FSM people to fight and prevail over the epidemic by keeping calm and enhancing cooperation, taking concrete actions in joint pursuit of building a Community with a Shared Future for Humanity.

Ambassador of China to the FSM, Huang Zheng,

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