All-out effort by China to stop COVID-19 spread

James Kon

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong spoke on COVID-19 and China’s effort to stop the spread of the contagious disease during an appearance on Radio Television Brunei (RTB)’s Rampai Pagi programme on February 27.

“The outbreak has drastically reduced the person-to-person exchanges between China and Brunei Darussalam, but it will only be temporary,” she said.

“In the context of a joint fight against the epidemic, we are also witnessing the positive cooperation between our two countries. With the testing kits provided by BGI, a Chinese company, Bruneian medical agency is able to conduct virus testing with high efficiency.”

She recalled that on February 10, “Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz bin Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar, Chief of Adat Istiadat Negara, and guests from all walks of life attended the Chinese New Year open house at my residence, and wrote words of support for China and Wuhan on the message board.

“We highly appreciate the solicitude and assistance that people from all walks of life in Brunei have extended in various ways, sending a message of warmth and love to the Chinese people in adversity.”

Workers sewing at factory making hazardous material suits to be used in the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, at the Zhejiang Ugly Duck Industry garment factory in Wenzhou. PHOTO: AFP
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong on Radio Television Brunei’s ‘Rampai Pagi’ programme. PHOTO: EMBASSY OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
Medical staff gesturing after work in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province. PHOTO: AFP

She noted that among them there are enterprises of Brunei and China, joint ventures and individuals including friends from the local Chinese community. In addition, some schools sent short videos to show support to people in China, in Wuhan.

“In this difficult time, we see the best of people. Such deeds will be engraved in the hearts of the Chinese people. We have opened the embassy account on Facebook, through which we will provide more information about our fight against COVID-19.”

In recent years, the cooperation between China and Brunei has been developing rapidly with the support of the two governments and peoples, she said. “We will join hands with the Brunei Government and people in working tirelessly to promote our bilateral cooperation and friendship between the two peoples.”

Ambassador Yu Hong highlighted that the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has brought severe challenges not only to China but also to the world.

“President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang presided respectively over several important meetings on the issue since the start of the outbreak. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to containing the epidemic, and puts people’s lives and health as its top priority. China has established a comprehensive multilevel nationwide joint prevention and control system focussing on Wuhan and other regions in Hubei province, with the whole nation mobilised to fight the epidemic.”

The Chinese Government, she explained, has made every effort to stop the spread of the epidemic and has mobilised resources to support Wuhan. Twenty-nine provinces across the country are supporting Hubei province. The central and local governments as well as the army have dispatched more than 40,000 medical staff to Hubei province, among them more than 30,000 to Wuhan. Three mobile P3 laboratories have also been sent to Wuhan.

The mobilisation this time has greatly exceeded that of the scale and speed of the medical rescue in the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Two hospitals designated for the treatment of COVID-19 patients were completed within 15 days, and 16 mobile cabins have opened. With all these arduous efforts, the capabilities to receive and treat patients in Hubei province, especially in Wuhan, have been effectively improved.

The ambassador also shared statistics, pointing out that, “The number of daily newly confirmed cases and suspected cases across China is going downward continually. The past 12 days have seen a quick drop by 90 per cent. The cured cases are increasing rapidly. New visions of treatment plan have kept improving and the cure rate is improving significantly.

“Over 30,000 patients have been discharged from the hospitals. Up to now, the cure rate is about 38 per cent and the mortality rate is around 3.4 per cent. The cure rate outside Hubei Province in China is 66 per cent and mortality rate is 0.8 per cent.”

She noted that the COVID-19 patients were once in all provinces and regions of China. As of February 26, 27 provinces and regions including Jiangsu province and Zhejiang province reported no new cases, and the number of the newly confirmed cases of the remaining five provinces was within single-digits. In two provinces, all the patients have been discharged from hospital. Newly confirmed cases in Hubei are also presenting the trend of declining.

“The strong measures taken by the Chinese Government have dramatically reduced the chances for the cases spreading outside China. China’s efforts are not only for the safeguarding of the lives and health of its own people; they have also contributed to global public health. We are fully confident, capable, and sure of defeating the epidemic. All provinces are taking measures based on different conditions in each region to combat the epidemic, and aiming to orderly resume the work and production at the same time.

“Combined with Western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine is widely introduced into the treatment. The traditional Chinese medicine has been used to treat more than 85 per cent of the confirmed cases and plays an important role in alleviating the symptoms, delaying and preventing mild cases from developing into severe ones.”

The ambassador described the battle against the epidemic as “a people’s war,” highlighting that Chinese people, especially those in Hubei and Wuhan, have showed courage, resilience and unity in this war.

“Tens of millions of public security officers, community workers and volunteers have been working on the front line. They are all heroes. Without the unity and support of our people, the goal to contain the epidemic will not be achieved.

“From the onset of this epidemic, China, in an open, transparent and scientific manner, has promptly released information about the epidemic to the international community, carried out unprecedented international cooperation, curbed the spread of the epidemic beyond our borders with all-out efforts, and earned precious time for global epidemic prevention and control.”

The ambassador said that Chinese scientists and medical professionals deserve a special tribute for making important contributions to the treatment of patients and the prevention work.

She also added that the World Health Organization (WHO) has highly applauded China’s attitude of responsibility on many occasions and fully affirmed the decisive measures China has taken. At the 146th session of the WHO’s Executive Committee, almost every member state lauded China for its huge cost and sacrifices in preventing and controlling of the epidemic.

Based on the knowledge of this virus and previous experiences in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, the WHO has repeatedly advised against restrictions on free movements of persons and goods. It is reasonable for some countries to take measures to strengthen epidemic prevention and detection.

China’s unprecedented public health responses to the COVID-19 outbreak have yielded notable results in blocking human-to-human transmission of the virus, preventing or at least delaying hundreds of thousands of cases.

“China is trying to get back on its feet in terms of the resumption of operation of social, economic, educational and medical institutions slowly, orderly and cautiously. Other countries should swiftly reassess the measures taken toward China. This is the assessment and advice of the joint mission consisting of experts from China and WHO, who conducted a nine-day field trip in four cities in China including Wuhan.”

She mentioned that leaders of more than 170 countries and 40 international organisations have sent letters or messages to express their sympathy and support, and dozens of foreign governments and peoples extended their help.

“His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam sent letters of sympathy and support to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang respectively, and Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof to State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yi, which warmed our hearts in this trying time.”

Last week, the China-ASEAN Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the COVID-19 was held in Vientiane, Laos. It has set an example for regional countries to jointly deal with future public health events and sent a strong message that China and ASEAN member countries will get through tough times together.

The ambassador said that the epidemic has undoubtedly posed challenges to China’s economic and social development, but it will only be short-lived and temporary, noting that International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva is optimistic about China’s economy, saying that China will see a sharp drop in GDP growth in the first quarter of 2020, but only a small reduction for the entire year.

“We have full confidence that once the outbreak is contained, the pent-up consumer demand and growth potential will be quickly unleashed, the fundamentals sustaining sound economic growth have not changed and will not change,” added the ambassador.