Ethiopian Ambassador to China: No country can defeat COVID-19 alone

Ethiopian Ambassador to China Teshome Toga Chanaka called for international solidarity and cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic during a recent e-mail interview with March 31, 2020
By Zhang Junmian

Ethiopian Ambassador to China Teshome Toga Chanaka called for international solidarity and cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic during a recent e-mail interview with

Ethiopian Ambassador to China Teshome Toga Chanaka. [Photo provided to]

"No single country, big or small, rich or poor, south or north, can win this battle on its own because the spread of the virus as we can see is borderless," the ambassador said. 

Toga explained, "This is a global challenge. It is not confined to any given territory. That is why global cooperation and global strategy are absolutely necessary."

Talking about the importance of international coordination at a time when data from the WHO shows the virus has infected 697,244 people and claimed 33,257 lives across the world as of 6:00 p.m. CET, March 30, Toga emphasized, "There is a global institution, the WHO, to coordinate and work with."

The ambassador said that providing necessary resources and financial support to the WHO is urgently needed, as the organization has enormous experience, six regional offices and 149 field offices in countries, territories or areas worldwide, and is best qualified to lead the global response. 

He continued, "It is time for a more concerted and coordinated global effort, not less. Isolated and national efforts alone cannot do the job well."

International cooperation on a global scale is a necessity when fighting the coronavirus pandemic, and China, as the country first exposed to the virus, can play a leading role in this action, he noted. 

"The post-crisis period of recovery also needs global coordinated efforts," added the ambassador. "In order to bring our global systems back in place, the fight should be done together, and success can only be measured globally."

Bilateral support and cooperation

Ethiopia provided China with various forms of precious support when it was facing its toughest period combating the virus, fully demonstrating the two countries' comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. 

Ethiopia and China have coordinated closely since the outbreak, said Toga. "The Ethiopian government stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the government and people of China at this challenging time."

He continued, "China, after almost bringing the virus under control, in turn, is extending its solidarity to its friends like Ethiopia by sharing its experiences and also by donating medical supplies. Ethiopia is among the first three African countries to benefit from the generous support of China."

China shared its anti-virus experiences with 24 African countries, including Ethiopia, and the African Union Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) via a special video conference on March 18.

The ambassador said, "China understood very well the need for global solidarity, coordination and support if the positive results in the country could be sustained. Many private sectors in China including the Jack Ma Foundation, the Huajian Group and others have already delivered donations to Ethiopia. Others are in the pipeline and the task force in China is coordinating these efforts. "

Both China and Ethiopia value the significance of joint action and collective efforts, he mentioned. 

Data from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health shows that as of March 30, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country had risen to 23. 

Faced by mounting challenges, Ethiopia has taken a range of measures. According to the ambassador, these include setting up a national task force; building up its diagnostic, testing and treatment capacity; enhancing public awareness; screening travellers at airports; preparing medical and isolation centers; training healthcare personnel; suspending social events; and closing its land borders.

Toga said, "As experience from China shows, the critical measure for countries like Ethiopia and many in Africa, I believe, is to focus on prevention."

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