Coronavirus has been spreading rapidly across the world, affecting more than 200 countries and claiming more than 30,000 lives. There are more than 650,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with the US now recording more than any other country, including China.
China says it has now all but stopped the spread of the disease and is planning to partially lift the lockdown in Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the outbreak began, on 8 April.
Talking to The Kabul Times on China’s experiences of fight against COVID-19, Chinese Ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu says cooperation between China and Afghanistan was steadily advancing on anti-epidemic cooperation.
Replying to The Kabul Times on how successful was China’s approach towards tackling COVID-19, Chinese Ambassador, Wang Yu said that under the personal command and deployment of President Xi Jinping, the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic in China has been basically contained, and the situation of epidemic prevention and control was improving.
“All 16 mobile cabin hospitals urgently set up in Wuhan City, Hubei Provinces have already been closed, and patients have all been cured. Since 18th March, there have been no new local confirmed cases reported in mainland China for many days. The number of confirmed cases in 11 provinces becomes zero, recovery rate in the 31 provinces of the Mainland China is over 87%, and the number of confirmed cases is visibly declining every day,” he added, saying the normal order of people’s production and life was gradually resuming in China.
Answering another question on to what extent did the virus affected Chinese economy, Ambassador Wang Yu said: The COVID-19 outbreak caused a big impact on China’s economy from January to February, but the impact is short-term and generally under control. It will not change the long-term positive fundamentals and internal upward trend of the Chinese economy. China’s trade structure continues to be optimized and balanced, and imports and exports to countries along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have maintained a growth trend in the past two months.
China at present produces over 100 million masks and more than 842,000 pieces of medical protective suits each day. Chinese governments at all levels have allocated a combined 116.9 billion yuan ($16.7 billion) of funds for epidemic prevention and control as of March 13. The epidemic prevention and control in China has shown the strength and resilience of the Chinese economy.
The Chinese government is advancing the work on coordinating the prevention and control of the COVID-19 and economic and social development, and has introduces a series of policies and measures to encourage economic growth and will continue to do that, striving to minimize the losses. An initial prediction is that China’s GDP growth at this March will obviously improve, and the previously depressed economic activities will gradually recover. China’s status as the top engine of world economic growth will not change. Such mechanisms initiated by China as BRI will further become the main driving force for global cooperation.
KT: How effective was Chinese people’s cooperation in fighting the virus?
Ambassador Wang Yu: President Xi Jinping defines China’s efforts of epidemic prevention and control as “a battle to a people’s war and general war.” The Chinese people have demonstrated their strong centripetal force and cohesion during the fight against COVID-19. As WHO official said, “Everyone knows his or her role and how to protect himself and his family.”
The 1.4 billion Chinese population spontaneously cut their social activities. More than 340 medical teams and 42,600 medical personnel from other provinces and the military system were sent to Wuhan City, Hubei Province, the worst-affected area. More than 7,000 construction workers worked day and night, and had built 2 hospitals with 2,600 beds in 10 days. 16 mobile cabin hospitals with more than 20,000 beds in Hubei were fully opened within the shortest time. Millions of volunteers signed up to participate into the epidemic prevention and control with great enthusiasm and became an important force. Chinese companies positively responded to the national calls, producing much-needed masks, protective clothing and other prevention equipment. It can be said that only with Chinese people’s cooperation, can China achieve such great success in fighting the COVID-19.
KT: Since the virus cases increasing in Afghanistan, which experiences of China do you think can be effective?
Ambassador Wang Yu: Fighting the epidemic requires the joint efforts of the government and the people towards the same goal.
China has done 4 things to fight the COVID-19 that is, isolating the transmission source, cutting off the transmission path, conducting effective diagnosis and treatment, and keeping the information open and transparent.
The COVID-19 transmission path in Hubei Province, China is mainly from person to person, which is very dangerous, calling for the government and people’s high attention, taking maximum precautions, reducing the spread of transmission from the source, and then winning time for the further diagnosis and treatment.
In terms of prevention, it is necessary to strengthen control measures, adopt restrictions on mass gatherings, and build the first line of defense at the official level so that the virus cannot be transmitted in collective ways. Guidelines for epidemic prevention and control should be published to the public to increase people’s awareness of epidemic prevention, reduce travelling, take protective measures, wash hands, and ventilate after going back home. If suspected symptoms such as cough, fever, limb weakness, and dyspnea are detected, timely medical treatment and effective quarantine should be taken. At the early stages of the COVID-19, the recovery rate is very high.
In the face of the epidemic, we must establish a rapid response mechanism for a rainy day to contain the epidemic at a smaller scale, basing on the principles of early detection, early diagnosis, early isolation, and early treatment. We must cut off the contact of key infected areas with the outside world, concentrate medical resources, and diagnose and treat locally in case of things getting out of control.
The centralized isolation for the diagnosed patients should be conducted for the sake of the entire Afghan population, and greatest protection for patients and their families. Those who have been in contact with patient should be also focused protection on. China has witnessed that there are asymptomatic patients, also known as carriers of the virus, which undoubtedly pose a huge challenge to controlling the source of transmission.
China has proved to the world that the epidemic is not invincible, though it is indeed terrible. Compared with the previous SARS and MERES virus, the mortality rate of COVID-19 is much lower and the recovery rate higher. The government should, based on raising people’s awareness of prevention, carry out the publicity of scientific epidemic prevention, and promptly stop “gossips” and “folk prescriptions” on the Internet and among the society, reduce people’s panic, and prevent people from trying useless or even harmful treatment.
China has announced cooperation with Afghanistan, can you tell us how this cooperation would take place and when?
Ambassador Wang Yu: China-Afghanistan anti-epidemic cooperation has already begun and been steadily advanced. On March 20th, I joined the Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Mirwais Nab in an online video conference on COVID-19 prevention and control with 19 Eurasian and South Asian countries. Chinese experts and representatives from relevant departments introduced the development trends and characteristics of the epidemic situation in detail, as well as China’s experience and practices in epidemic prevention and control, clinical treatment, customs quarantine, and conducted in-depth exchanges with Afghan health experts.
At present, the Chinese side has started the process of medical material assistance to Afghanistan. New COVID-19 testing reagents, respirators, and oxygen generators will be arrived soon. The Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan and some Chinese enterprises will also donate a batch of masks, protective clothing and other epidemic prevention equipment to Afghanistan. The embassy is now enhancing communication and coordination with relevant departments of the Afghan government, and will send those supplies to the front line of the Afghan epidemic prevention as soon as possible and those in need.
China and Afghanistan are a community of shared future for mankind health. Next, China will strengthen cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan, WHO, the Afghan Red Crescent Society and other departments, working together on anti-epidemic cooperation, promoting epidemic information sharing, and coordinating the prevention and control strategies. China and Afghanistan will continue to strengthen the exchanges of health experts’ experience in epidemic prevention and control, and put forward more practical measures and suggestions on the basis of the situation in Afghanistan to help Afghanistan overcome the difficulties at an early date. My Afghan friends, please rest assured that China will stand firmly with the Afghan people.