Working together to defeat the pandemic

James Kon

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong recently issued a message outlining several strategies in hope of winning the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her message, the Chinese ambassador said, “To defeat the virus, we must continue to do a good job in epidemic prevention and control.

“At present, some countries, including China and Brunei, have won phased victories, which are hard-earned and must be cherished,” she affirmed. “We should continue to adopt effective measures in key areas such as prevention, isolation, testing, treatment and case tracing, stepping up information sharing and experience exchanges, engaging in international cooperation on the improvement testing methods, research and development of clinical treatments, drugs and vaccines to constantly mount achievements.”

“To defeat the virus, we must build the global community of health. At the time when the situation in China was at its most difficult, the international community provided valuable support and assistance to our country and our people.”

She noted that in phone calls or meetings with nearly 50 foreign leaders and heads of international organisations, Chinese President Xi Jinping explained China’s efforts and achievements in fighting the virus.

“He expressed empathy for the difficulties faced by other countries, saying that China would do all it can to help them. He called on all parties to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and to support international organisations.”

The ambassador shared that China has carried out more than 70 exchanges with various countries and international organisations, and provided two batches of cash support to the World Health Organisation (WHO) totalling USD50 million. As of May 31, China has sent 29 medical expert teams to 27 countries and offered assistance to 150 countries and four international organisations.

“We should increase support to developing countries, especially those hit severely in Africa and other regions. At present, 46 Chinese medical teams based in Africa are engaging in local epidemic prevention and control operations.”

The ambassador also highlighted the need to support the WHO to lead the global response, and said that under the leadership of WHO Director General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the organisation has made a major contribution in leading and advancing the global response to COVID-19.

She said that the WHO’s good work is applauded by the international community. “At this crucial juncture, to support the WHO is to support international cooperation and the battle for saving lives as well. China firmly supports the WHO in playing the leading role in this global battle, and calls on the international community to give it more political and financial support, so that we can mobilise the necessary resources worldwide to defeat this virus.”

The envoy affirmed that, to defeat the virus, “we must summarise the experience and lessons in time.” She shared that the white paper ‘Fighting COVID-19: China in Action’ was released on June 7 by the Information Office of the State Council of China, which recorded the hardships of China’s fight against the epidemic in detail.

“We all should draw lessons from this epidemic, establish sound mechanisms for international cooperation, including a long-term financing mechanism, a monitoring, early warning and joint response mechanism for threats to public health, and a mechanism for reserving and allocating resources and create an efficient, sustainable global public health system for all.

“China supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the global response to COVID-19 after it is brought under control. This work should be based on science and professionalism, led by the WHO and conducted in an objective and impartial manner.”

The ambassador also underscored the need to coordinate prevention and control with social and economic development.

“It is imperative that the international community works together to stabilise and rehabilitate the world economy. All countries should work together to address the deepening global recession. We need to step up international coordination on macroeconomic policies, and jointly safeguard the stable, secure and smooth operation of international industrial and supply chains for restoring the world economy to the utmost.”

She said China has officially launched ‘fast lane’ arrangements with Singapore, Republic of Korea and other countries to facilitate essential business and official travel, and is willing to discuss to set up similar arrangements with other countries where conditions permit.

Touching on China’s economy, the ambassador shared that it has maintained recovery momentum while coordinating prevention and control with economic and social development. During the last International Workers’ Day holiday from May 1 to 5, over 115 million domestic travellers were received nationwide by major tourism attractions. The production resumption index has already reached over 90 in Hubei Province, which was most affected by the epidemic situation.

“Brunei has reported no new confirmed case for 41 consecutive days, marking a great success in epidemic prevention and control,” she said.

“At the same time, the COVID-19 outbreak is still raging around the world, more than 7.6 million infections confirmed in 188 countries and territories, including at least 427,630 deaths. People’s lives, safety and health should always come first,” she continued, while underlining the need to uphold the vision of a global community of shared future. “We should support each other and join hands to contain the spread of the virus and protect the health and well-being of peoples across the globe.”

The ambassador added that on May 18, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the virtual 73rd World Health Assembly where he announced China’s measures to strengthen global cooperation against the COVID-19 outbreak.

This includes providing USD2 billion of international aid in the next two years, working with the United Nations (UN) to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, securing the supply chain and the Fast Lane operation of anti-epidemic materials, making China’s COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment, when available, a global public good, contributing to the accessibility and affordability of the vaccine in developing countries.

“The pandemic will have a significant impact on the development of humanity, but the people’s longing for a happy life will remain unchanged,” affirmed the ambassador. “Peace and development as well as win-win cooperation remain the theme of our times. China is willing to work with all countries including Brunei, to uphold multilateralism, jointly protect lives and health of all peoples and build a global community of health.”