SINCE the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) in December 2019, the Chinese government has taken tremendous efforts to address it, including imposition of travel restrictions in Hubei province and beyond and extension of Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.
Other measures include closing down unessential public places, monitoring people’s body temperature at airports and other public venues, identifying the pathogen and sharing the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus with the World Health Organisation (WTO) and other countries, pooling various resources to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, building new hospitals in Wuhan to receive NCP patients, etc.
These efforts have significantly reduced the rate of infection while enhancing the cure rate of the patients. In addition to the above efforts, the Chinese government has provided about $ 5 billion to support various efforts to fight the disease.
Also, it has taken proactive measures to ensure that all people in the cities affected by the disease, especially in the city of Wuhan, are given face masks to protect themselves from infection. Within just 10 days, two brand new hospitals have been constructed in Wuhan, with a total capacity of 2,600 beds.
Other steps taken by the Chinese government include sending doctors and nurses from different parts of the country to Hubei province to address the shortage of medical professionals there, and transporting food and medical equipment from neighbouring provinces to Hubei to ensure sufficient supply of these essential goods.
To show that the government cares about the people’s health and rights, it has called on banks in the country especially in the worst affected areas, to reduce mortgage interest rates and move forward loan repayment dates for those borrowers who have temporarily lost their income sources due to the postponement of commencement of work.
The efforts taken by the Chinese government to fight the disease, have been recognized and supported by the international community. The WHO DirectorGeneral Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus spoke highly of the timely and effective measures taken by the Chinese government, saying China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response in many ways.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised China’s response to curb the NCP as remarkable and warned stigmatisation against China. Condolence greetings and support for the efforts of the Chinese government in the fight against the disease have continued to be issued by leaders of various nations.
One of the leaders who sent a letter of sympathy to Chinese President Xi Jinping is Tanzanian President Dr John Joseph Pombe Magufuli.
In his letter dated 3 February 2020, President Magufuli told President Xi that Tanzania commends the strong and prompt actions undertaken by the Government of China, as well as the courage and determination shown by the Chinese people in the fight against the NCP.
He also said that Tanzania is ready to provide whatever kind of support the Chinese government requests. President Magufuli’s letter reflects the feelings and sorrows of all Tanzanians and shows how devastated we are when our Chinese brothers and sisters are suffering from the NCP epidemic.
It is an embodiment of solidarity between the people of Tanzania and China. Condolences to China and the support for Chinese government’s efforts to combat the epidemic have come from different parts of Africa. To show brotherhood, Equatorial Guinea has donated $ 2 million to China to help fight the NCP.
Indeed, this is a symbol of sincere love shown by the people of Equatorial Guinea, and it is also a way of expressing their appreciation for many things that China has done for African nations. Since China has stood by us through thick and thin, we are ready to work with China to defeat the epidemic jointly.
While the international community are looking for ways to partner with China to prevent the disease from spreading, some countries have simply denied entry to foreigners who had recently visited China. This practice is contrary to the recommendations put forward by the WHO.
Apart from that, some countries have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan and some airlines suspended their flights to China. Again these actions contradict WHO recommendations and add more uncertainties to the fight against the NCP.
According to a press release of the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania, confirmed cases have been detected among some foreign evacuees, which increase the risk of further spread of the NCP. Bad enough, some leaders have used the NCP epidemic politically to exert pressure on the WHO for granting membership to Taiwan.
Indeed, this is interference in China’s internal affairs because Taiwan is part of China, and it does not qualify for the membership of an intergovernmental organisation like the WHO. The international community is expected to show solidarity with China in the fight against the NCP and not to bring in irrelevant politics.
Such behaviours are not good and they clearly show how some nations and leaders have no solidarity with the affected people at all. In order to succeed in eradicating the disease, it will require a concerted effort by the international community.
The effects of the NCP will not only cost people’s lives, but also have negative impacts on the global economy.
Thus, countries in the world should put aside their differences and stop exploiting the epidemic as a political tool, but rather, support China’s prevention and containment efforts by not overreacting to the epidemic and expanding cooperation with China, especially in the development of vaccines and sorting out of curative drugs.