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


Since the outbreak of the epidemic, what kind of assistance has China received from the international community? At present, some countries are facing increasing pressure in the fight against COVID-19. Will China provide relevant assistance to other countries? What lessons could the international community learn in their fight against the epidemic? Thank you.

Ma Zhaoxu:

As I mentioned in my introduction earlier, since the outbreak of COVID-19, the international community – including foreign governments, people from all walks of life and international organizations – have provided large amounts of material assistance to China. We are very grateful for all the support. By the end of March 2, a total of 62 countries and seven international organizations have sent urgently needed materials such as face masks and protective suits for the epidemic prevention and control work in China. Behind these numbers are lots of touching stories. For example, Myanmar's government helped us with rice; the Sri Lankan government provided us with black tea; the Mongolian government donated 30,000 goats; and the Pakistani government sent all their stocks of face masks from the country's hospitals to China. This timely help embodies the phrase "A friend in need is a friend indeed." We will not forget this.

Maybe you have already heard of one touching story involving a 10-year-old Mongolian girl studying in China who donated 333 yuan (US$48) to Hubei province and another two Chinese places respectively, expressing her wish that the outbreak would be over quickly. She did so because the pronunciation of the number "three" and the word "disperse" sound similar in Chinese. We were all deeply moved by her story. Another example is Kang Seung-seok, the new consul general of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in Wuhan, who arrived in the epicenter when most people were leaving. There are numerous examples like this, which demonstrate the good will of the international community standing beside China to fight the epidemic together.

We have mainly relied on ourselves in the fight against COVID-19, while also expressing gratitude to all the sincere assistance from the international community. As we said, the epidemic will be temporary, but friendship and cooperation are long-lasting. The Chinese people will never forget all the kind sympathy and support from the international community.

At present, although China has made remarkable progress in the prevention and control of the epidemic, our work fighting COVID-19 is still at a critical stage and we cannot relax at all. Currently, confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in many countries, and the number is growing fast. In some countries, the situation is getting worse. Under such circumstances, China has done what we can to lend a hand. We have provided test kits to Pakistan, Japan and the African Union (AU), and shared treatment methods with many countries. The Chinese government, Red Cross Society of China and a range of Chinese enterprises have also donated test kits to Iran and countries in Africa, whilst Red Cross Society of China has sent a team of volunteer experts to Iran. Based on the changing situation of COVID-19, we will continue to work on the prevention and control of the epidemic in China. At the same time, we will also continue to deepen international cooperation with other countries, and provide support to foreign countries to the best of our abilities.

We are willing to strengthen health care cooperation with related countries, especially those hit hard by the virus as well as the WHO, and stand closely together to combat the epidemic. I want to emphasize one more point: In the age of globalization, the future of all countries is closely intertwined. Society has become a community with a shared future where our interests are closely tied together. In the face of the outbreak, no country can stay immune. In the face of global challenges like public health security, should we stand closely together, or abandon our neighbors? Should we fight side-by-side, or adopt a "wait-and-see" attitude? Should we offer timely support, or add insult to injury? The answers are self-evident. Just as WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, the virus has attacked us and humanity must join hands to fight it; it is a threat to all of us and we must unite as one. The idea of building a community with a shared future for humanity, put forward by President Xi Jinping, calls on all countries to rise above differences in social systems, history, culture and development stage. The vision highlights the common pursuit of human values, embraces historical trends, and faces up to the world's most important and pressing issues. 

Major public health security incidents are one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. In the global battle against the epidemic, the international community should stand closely together, support each other and fight side-by-side. We will promote the building of a community with a shared future for humanity, strengthen international coordination and cooperation, and work with other countries in combatting the epidemic. We will advance international cooperation in public health, and boost international health development.

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