Serbian Ambassador to China Milan Bacevic [Photo provided to China.org.cn]
Serbian Ambassador to China Milan Bacevic said that China is making positive contributions to global public health security in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During an exclusive interview with China.org.cn, Bacevic said: "The measures taken by China in comprehensiveness and achieved results have aroused praise from the WHO as well as many countries and their professional circles.
"Not only did it show responsibility towards its own citizens, but it also took care of international health security."
The ambassador said, "What is even more astonishing is that while China has not come out from the anti-epidemic struggle fully, it had rushed to help other countries, unquestionably sending assistance in terms of medical supplies and equipment to more than 80 countries.
"By sending its doctors to countries that have become new outbreak hotspots, China is moving its people to another battlefield, and I think everyone should have full respect for such a Chinese sacrifice."
The ambassador noted, "The global humanitarian action of China is an example of how it is becoming a force for good in the world, and the idea of broad community, in which we are all connected and sharing a common destiny. This is especially confirmed at the time of the fight against the pandemic led by China, reminding us we are the key creators of the 'community of shared future for mankind'."
Underscoring the urgency of joining hands to stop the virus spread, Bacevic said: "I think it is the most important to be united, with the international community continuing to work together.
"Confronting the massive challenge imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, cooperation is the only way to protect basic human rights, that is, right to live."
The ambassador stressed the need to aid and support each other in the best possible way, coordinating policies and resources, as well as sharing information, scientific knowledge, diagnostic and therapeutic solutions.
He pointed out that the true nature of the virus remained unknown, as were its ultimate consequences for humanity in terms of the number of casualties, adding that another unknown was the long-term impact on the European and world economy.
He warned that it would be another test of the maturity of the global society as to whether countries would be able to show solidarity in the process of helping others struggling to recover from the economic fallout.
As of 10:55 a.m. Beijing Time on April 13, there were 1,850,220 confirmed cases, with 114,215 deaths, reported globally, according to an interactive map maintained by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
Ironclad brothers share weal and woe
China and Serbia are comprehensive strategic partners with unbreakable iron-clad friendship. Serbia was one of the first countries to offer support and help to China when China was striving to contain the outbreak, and the latter is now providing Serbia with assistance and medical supplies, and has also sent a medical expert team to support its anti-virus efforts.
Serbia announced a state of emergency on March 15. It reported an accumulative number of 3,630 confirmed cases, with 80 deaths on April 13.
According to Bacevic, the Serbian government has taken stringent emergency measures such as closing its borders, introducing a curfew, banning both urban and suburban traffic, and prohibiting public gatherings. It has also introduced a package of economic measures to help the economy and preserve jobs.
At the suggestion of Chinese experts, the Serbian Army started installing temporary hospitals, equipping the first one in Belgrade with 3,000 beds to accommodate patients with mild symptoms, the ambassador said.
"In Serbia, the number of patients is relatively stable and even a slight decline was recorded last week, which indicates that the measures produced some results," said the ambassador. "Regardless of this small positive sign, we are still on alert and will strive to avoid the scenario of the European countries that are hit hardest."
The ambassador mentioned that a key relief measure in meeting the challenges posed by the virus, including the shortage of medical supplies, had been the rapid Chinese response.
"In response to President Vucic's appeal, a team of six top Chinese experts arrived in Serbia along with the largest shipment of Chinese aid, consisted of medical supplies, equipment, respirators and other medical supplies necessary to fight the epidemic," he recalled. "Previously, tests for the detection of virus donated by the Mammoth Foundation based in Shenzhen were delivered as well.
"Recently, 14 million masks were delivered and 14 experts arrived in Serbia to help us install two machines purchased from China's 'Health Care' company to produce masks by ourselves."
"Chinese help means life to us," the diplomat said. "The donations have saved the lives of thousands of our citizens and we are deeply grateful for that."