China acted responsibly in global fight against coronavirus: Greek expert

A top expert of the Hellenic National Public Health Organization (NPHO), which leads the battle against the novel coronavirus in Greece, commended China on Friday for its response to the outbreak.

“China has taken very impressive measures in order to contain this epidemic. China behaved with responsibility towards the Chinese people, and also the global community,” Helena Maltezou, head of the NPHO’s Department of Epidemiological Surveillance and Intervention, told Xinhua on Friday on the sidelines of a video conference hosted by the Chinese Embassy here that brought together epidemiological experts from China and their peers from central and eastern Europe.

This, she said, was very important as the rest of the world gained one or even two months before virus started to spread outside China.

During the video conference, the Chinese experts outlined their progress in combating the pandemic and explained their containment strategies.

They presented their latest diagnostic and treatment plans, and summed up their experiences in community disease prevention.

“This was very important because the Chinese physicians and scientists have the expertise … We truly rely on Chinese experience in this issue,” Maltezou said.

China responded very fast and responsibly when the virus first emerged, Maltezou said. This means that China has gained scientific credibility to introduce its experiences to other countries, to the scientific communities there. “China is respected for this,” Maltezou stressed.

Asked about the challenges entailed in containing the spread of the virus in Greece, where the confirmed cases have rose to 190, she noted that this virus transmits very easily from person to person and may cause serious illnesses and can even be fatal.

“We try very hard to contain the disease, but now we move to another phase, mitigation as we call it. We have to deal with the disease, and we have already given guidelines to people to stay indoors as much as they can,” she added.

The Greek authorities have also closed schools and universities, and introduced strict measures to limit crowds, she noted.

While trying to control the spread of the virus, the experts are also working on a coronavirus vaccine.

“This is very important because we don’t know much about this virus, we do not have specific treatments, only empirical treatment, so there is a lot to work ahead,” Maltezou said, adding that there is a lot of potential for collaboration in research.

“We would like to collaborate with specific universities or healthcare facilities or hospitals in China in order to promote the exchange of knowledge, but also to work on specific treatments or ways to manage patients,” she concluded.

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