SCIO briefing on white paper 'Fighting COVID-19: China in Action'

​The State Council Information Office (SCIO) held a press conference on June 7 to brief the media on its new white paper: "Fighting COVID-19: China in Action." June 10, 2020

Guo Weimin:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference.

This morning, the SCIO released a white paper entitled "Fighting COVID-19: China in Action." During this press conference, we will introduce you to its content and provide necessary explanations.

Present at this press conference are Mr. Xu Lin, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and minister of the SCIO; Mr. Wang Zhigang, minister of science and technology; Mr. Ma Xiaowei, minister of the National Health Commission (NHC); Mr. Ma Zhaoxu, vice minister of foreign affairs; and finally, Mr. Wang Chen, academician and vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), and president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS). I'm your host, Guo Weimin, vice minister of the SCIO. 

First, we will give the floor to Mr. Xu for an introduction.

Xu Lin:

Ladies and gentlemen. Friends from the media.

The COVID-19 outbreak is the most widespread global pandemic to hit mankind in the last hundred years and represents a serious crisis and a significant global threat. The virus is currently wreaking havoc throughout the world, and lives are being lost every day. We grieve for those who have been killed and those who have sacrificed their lives during the fight. We extend the greatest respect to those who are struggling to save lives around the clock, and offer true moral support to those who are infected and receiving treatment.

Humanity is at war with the novel coronavirus. Facing this unknown, unexpected, and devastating disease, the CPC and the Chinese government put people's lives and health first. They adopted the most extensive, stringent and thorough containment measures. By working together to overcome the difficulties, the Chinese people have succeeded in containing the spread of the virus. Today, the SCIO releases the white paper entitled "Fighting COVID-19: China in Action," to share China's experience in epidemic control and medical treatment with the rest of the world. The paper introduces what the Chinese people have learned from their adversity, and is intended to bolster confidence and strength in defeating the virus through solidarity and cooperation.

China's painstaking efforts to fight against the disease deserve to be remembered forever. The white paper points out that, "the virus spread faster and wider than any other since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, and proved to be the most difficult to contain. It was both a crisis and a major test for China." The epidemic outbreak coincided with the Lunar New Year, therefore the massive population movements made the situation extremely grave and complex. The sudden appearance of the previously unknown virus in Wuhan put an overwhelming strain on its medical resources. Restrictions on outbound traffic from Wuhan city and Hubei province were imposed. 60 million people experienced huge physical and psychological stress. Meanwhile, there was enormous demand for daily necessities and supplies to ensure epidemic control and medical treatment. Quarantine and isolation on an unprecedented scale were enforced. The economy faced downward pressure and even a temporary shutdown. In the face of the complex situation and serious challenges, the Chinese people, under the leadership of the CPC, fought the epidemic courageously. We made tremendous sacrifice, and paid a heavy price. However, the decisive results of the defensive battles of Wuhan and Hubei led to major strategic achievements in the prevention and control of the epidemic. The arduous history of China's struggle against the epidemic is the unforgettable common memory of 1.4 billion Chinese people, and they will always remember this part of their history.

China's fight against COVID-19 fully demonstrates the outstanding leadership and science-based decisions of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. According to the white paper, since the outbreak of the epidemic, the CPC and the Chinese government have attached great importance to the issue and responded swiftly. General Secretary Xi prioritized the well-being of people and oversaw the general situation. At the critical moment, he made major decisions and led an all-out people's war on the virus. As the virus spread rapidly in Wuhan city and Hubei province, General Secretary Xi sized up the situation and made a resolute decision to close outbound traffic from Wuhan and Hubei, employing extraordinary measures to deal with an extraordinary emergency. General Secretary Xi assumed full command over the control efforts. He chaired many important meetings, including meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and meetings of the Political Bureau. He inspected the COVID-19 response in Beijing and Wuhan. He ordered major guidelines and overall requirements on the fight against the virus, as well as important principles on epidemic control and medical treatment. Based on changes in the situation, he made major decisions to coordinate epidemic control with economic and social development, as well as take unremitting and meticulous efforts in prevention and control work on an ongoing basis. General Secretary Xi Jinping's personal command and deployment have boosted the confidence of the Chinese people in the fight against the epidemic, gathered strength and set a clear direction.

China's fight against the pandemic demonstrates that it has put the people's interests first and that it considers nothing more precious than people's lives. According to the white paper, China has taken every possible measure to treat patients and save lives at all costs. The country has put in place a centralized and efficient command system to effectively coordinate prevention, control and treatment. It has ensured that no coronavirus patient is left unattended and that all those in need have been tested, quarantined, hospitalized or treated. Severe cases were treated by the best doctors using the most advanced equipment, and critical supplies were pooled to save lives. By doing so, it has improved patient admission and cure rates to the maximum extent possible. As of May 31, 2020, the recovery rate for COVID-19 has reached 94.3% on the Chinese mainland.

China's fight against the epidemic demonstrates its governance capacity and its composite national strength. According to the white paper, the entire country acted promptly after the outbreak to muster the support of the whole country to assist Hubei, and Wuhan in particular, to combat the disease. A total of 346 medical teams composed of 42,600 medical workers and more than 960 public health professionals from across the country and the armed forces were dispatched to assist Hubei during the coronavirus outbreak. To increase the production and supply of medical supplies, medical enterprises operated at full capacity and expanded capacity; meanwhile, enterprises in other industries made rapid adjustments to their manufacturing facilities and turned to producing products for the fight against the epidemic. The country stepped up efforts to ensure material supply in Wuhan and Hubei. From the days when outbound traffic from the city and the province was closed to the days when such restrictions were lifted, millions of tonnes of epidemic prevention and control materials, producer goods and daily necessities were transported to Hubei from across the country.

The Chinese people are the main source of confidence and strength in China's fight against the epidemic. According to the white paper, the 1.4 billion Chinese people represented a formidable force in the fight against COVID-19. After the outbreak, the Chinese people, irrespective of their gender, age or occupation, joined the battle against the epidemic with tenacious, unified willpower. Heedless of their own safety, medical workers headed for the frontline against the virus. The people in Wuhan and other parts of Hubei fought against the new coronavirus with grit in their hearts and the wider interests of others in their minds. Community workers, primary and community-level officials, officials sent to work in communities, police, and customs officers worked day and night. Couriers, sanitation workers, transport employees, enterprise employees, media workers, volunteers and many people from other sectors of society devoted themselves to the fight against the epidemic and bore no grudges. The general public shouldered their responsibilities and united as one, demonstrating two defining values of Chinese culture – solidarity and mutual assistance; and the profound love of the Chinese people for their family and their country.

The Chinese government has made persistent efforts to release information on COVID-19 in a timely, open and accurate manner as required by law. According to the white paper, while making an all-out effort to contain the virus, with a keen sense of responsibility to humanity, its people, history and the international community, China has improved its system of releasing information on COVID-19 and effectively responded to public concern. China wasted no time in releasing information such as the whole coronavirus genome sequence and the specific primers and probes for detecting the coronavirus to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant countries and regional organizations, thus providing fundamental support to global virus prevention and control.

China appreciated the valuable support from the international community during its COVID-19 fight, and it is reciprocating the same goodwill. According to the white paper, the Chinese nation will never forget the help and generosity it received. When the situation in China was at its most difficult point, the international community provided valuable support and assistance to our people, for which China is deeply grateful. Facing a prolonged global pandemic, China has actively carried out exchange and cooperation with the international community, shared information and experiences and done everything it can to provide humanitarian assistance, thereby contributing its methods and strength to the global fight against the coronavirus.

Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons available to the international community in the war against the pandemic. According to the white paper, the global spread of COVID-19 is currently causing great concern. Every country should make the choice that is right for the interests of humanity and the wellbeing of our future generations. Upholding the vision of a global community of shared future, we should support each other and join hands to build a global community of health for all. As long as the international community maintains its firm confidence, solidarity and cooperation, we will succeed in overcoming the pandemic, and will emerge from this dark moment in human history into a brighter future.

Thank you.

Guo Weimin:

Thank you. The floor is now open for questions. Please identify your media organization before raising your question. Let's begin.

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