SCIO briefing on international cooperation in response to COVID-19

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on March 5 in Beijing to brief the media about international cooperation in response to COVID-19. March 6, 2020

Kyodo News:

According to some news reports, projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in some countries such as Pakistan have had to be postponed due to the epidemic. What impact will COVID-19 have on cooperation under the BRI? What measures will China take in this regard? Thank you.

Ma Zhaoxu:

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many BRI partner countries have actively provided political and material support and assistance to China. They have expressed their willingness in various ways to continue cooperating with China under the BRI. China has also provided emergency medical supplies as much as possible to countries along the BRI route, such as Pakistan. This mutual help reflects the vitality of the BRI. We have both confidence and the capacity to win the battle against COVID-19. We believe that the epidemic's impact on the BRI is only temporary, and are willing to cooperate with all participants to promote the high-quality development of BRI. We have confidence in this regard.

Hong Kong Economic Herald:

According to a report from the WHO, as of March. 4, COVID-19 cases have been reported in 76 countries around the world. As China continues its efforts to prevent and control the epidemic domestically, what kind of technical support will China provide to the rest of the world to jointly contain the spread of COVID-19? Thank you.

Zeng Yixin:

Thank you for your question. As my colleagues have introduced, since the outbreak of COVID-19, many countries have offered assistance to China. In terms of technical support, China has established close communications regarding medical treatment with the WHO, EU, African Union, Caribbean Community, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and other international organizations. Under this mechanism, we have been sharing information on epidemic prevention and control as well as medical treatment. Next, we will strengthen cooperation and exchanges with the rest of the world in the following aspects to jointly fight COVID-19.

First, we have continued to provide the latest versions of the guidelines for COVID-19 prevention and control and the diagnosis and treatment plan to international and regional organizations as well as related countries in a timely manner. The guidelines for COVID-19 prevention and control have been updated to the fifth version, and the diagnosis and treatment plan has been updated to the seventh version. We will keep making improvements to the documents and sharing the newest editions with all the parties who need them.

Second, we have continued to support Chinese and foreign experts on epidemic control and clinical treatment by sharing related techniques through various means, such as video and telephone conferences. Recently, we held a special press briefing in Wuhan, where Chinese clinical experts working on the frontline shared their opinions and experience in English.

Third, we have supported public healthcare and medical institutions, including the Red Cross Society of China and Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in sending expert teams to conduct cooperation and exchanges with technical agencies of related countries, to share information about the epidemic and experience on its prevention and control and to organize various forms of professional training. For example, taking test samples requires training as the process entails a lot of technical skills, such as how to take samples, how to perform tests, and what should be tested -- antigens, viruses, sera, antibodies, or all together. Having gone through such difficulties, we are ready to share our knowledge and experience with relevant countries to enhance the capabilities of their professional personnel on epidemic prevention and control as well as medical treatment. I believe such cooperation will contribute to the global epidemic prevention and control efforts. Thank you.

Ma Zhaoxu:

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread globally, some countries have made requests to China for assistance. Their needs can be divided into four categories: first, test kits for the novel coronavirus; second, protective suits, face masks, thermometers, and other supplies; third, drugs for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment; fourth, experience in epidemic control, and COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment. We have offered supplies including test kits to some countries, and donated supplies vital for epidemic control to foreign countries through the Red Cross branches, civil organizations, enterprises, and local governments. In addition, we have sent a voluntary team of medical experts to Iran.

In the next step, we are stepping up efforts to help countries in dire need of assistance, including South Korea, Iraq, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, we are considering our response to the WHO's appeal for donations and will release information about our contributions in due course. In fact, among the countries that made requests for assistance, many have made donations to China since the outbreak. So, we are offering aid to these countries in order to help them combat the coronavirus and also to return their favor. There is a Chinese saying: "A favor of a drop of water should be repaid with a surging spring." Of course, we are providing necessary assistance to these countries within China's capacity.

Hu Kaihong:

Due to the time limit, we will now have the last two questions.

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