By Li Yongqun, Zhang Penghui
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), acknowledged the efforts of the Chinese government and people in fighting the pneumonia epidemic while addressing the 146th session of the WHO Executive Board that kicked off in Geneva, Switzerland on February 3.
During the meeting, Tedros elaborated on the cooperation between China and the WHO amid the coronavirus, called on all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent, and said that the vital importance for all countries is to invest in preparedness, not panic.
The WHO made recommendations that there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade.
China has taken serious measures at the epicenter, at the source, which not only protected the Chinese people, but also prevented the spread of the virus to other countries, Tedros said, adding that it demonstrated the responsibility, confidence and capabilities of the country.
Outside China, there are 146 confirmed cases in 23 countries, “Instead of spending time on fear and panic, we should say this is the time to prepare,” Tedros said. “Because 146 cases, by any standard, is very low.”
“If it weren’t for China’s efforts, the number of cases outside China would have been very much higher,” he said.
The world must support countries with weaker health systems, as well as accelerate the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, Tedros pointed out.
The WHO said that the world should also combat the spread of rumors and misinformation, review preparedness plans, identify gaps and evaluate the resources needed to identify, isolate and care for cases, and prevent transmission.
The organization called on all countries to share data, sequences, knowledge and experience with the WHO and the world.
Tedros said the WHO stands ready to provide advice to any country that is considering which measures to take, and called on all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation.
WHO’s spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic reiterated in an interview with People’s Daily that the organization does not recommend any measure that unnecessarily interferes with international travel and trade.
At the WHO executive board meeting, many countries spoke highly of China’s epidemic prevention work and its contribution to global public health.
The Tanzanian delegate thanked the Chinese government for taking strong measures to control the outbreak quickly, and emphasized that thanks to China’s great effort and sacrifice, Africa has so far no confirmed cases.
He said that the next step for African countries is to continue to strengthen prevention measures, hopefully with the support from the WHO and China.
The German delegate appreciated China for having acted quickly against the epidemic, being open and transparent, sharing information in a timely manner and working closely with the WHO.
The delegate from Singapore praised the Chinese government for sharing the information in a timely manner and unswervingly controlling the spread of the epidemic, expressing their firm belief that China and the rest of the world will surely overcome the epidemic through cooperation.
The Swiss delegate said that China’s prevention, control and treatment measures are exemplary, and that Switzerland is willing to work with the Chinese people to win the fight against the outbreak.
Britain, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Singapore, Israel, Chile, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, Spain, Myanmar, Egypt, Norway, Indonesia, Canada, Denmark, Thailand, Sweden, Montenegro, and Bangladesh have all appreciated highly the measures taken by the Chinese government, calling on the international community to strengthen cooperation and work together to overcome the disease.
The pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus is a common challenge facing the entire world, said Li Song, Deputy Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Other International Organizations in Switzerland.
Out of a strong sense of responsibility to protect the lives and health of the people in China and other countries, the Chinese government has adopted the most comprehensive and strict measures to prevent and control the spread of the virus, Li added.
Under the leadership and command of the central government of China, all provinces across the country have launched first-level emergency response to the novel coronavirus. It is because of these effective measures that the epidemic has been constrained within China, with the confirmed cases in other countries accounting for less than one percent of the world’s total.
The Chinese government and people have the resolution, confidence and capability to win the battle against the new coronavirus outbreak, said Li.
When an epidemic appears, its severity and potential risks are usually overestimated, which can easily trigger overreaction among people, according to a recent article published in the Economist.
In fact, Scientists have started work on vaccines and on options, and the epidemic is not as severe as some might think, said the article.
China’s response to the epidemic deserves commendation, according to the article. The Chinese scientists had a quick identification and sequencing of the virus. They developed detection reagents for the virus and shared them with the international community.
Thanks to their efforts, the international cooperation in response to the epidemic has made great progress. In addition, China has taken effective measures such as postponing schooling to control the spread of the coronavirus, which is unimaginable in other parts of the world. No country has acted so quickly in response to a new epidemic like China did, the article said.