China works with Pacific to fight coronavirus
China and the Pacific Island countries met over video conference this week to talk novel coronavirus, with senior Chinese health experts answering the regions' questions about the disease that may have originated in China.
There were more than 100 people in the call, including the top leaders from health ministries in Papua New Guinea, the Federated States of Micronesia and Tonga.
Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, the Cook Islands and Niue participated also.
The China-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Chief Expert, Wu Zunyou, briefed the conference about COVID-19’s pathogenic mechanism, transmission mode and epidemic development.
Director of Infectious Diseases within the Department of Peking University First Hospital, Wang Guiqiang, explained China’s prevention and control response, and the clinical treatment of the coronavirus.
Participants asked dozens of detailed questions, asking about the virus itself, how to protect medical workers, prevention and control, border control and quarantine, vaccine research and more.
In a press release about the video conference, the Chinese Embassy in Samoa said: “The epidemic respects no borders, while the brotherhood will be consolidated.”
It said China will worked with the region’s countries (with which it has diplomatic relations) to improve information sharing, epidemic prevention cooperation, and safeguard the region and the world’s health security.
“China and the Pacific Island countries (P.I.C.s) are all developing countries.
“China sympathizes with their special difficulties in preventing and controlling the epidemic.
“We have always been concerned about the island friends and shared the latest information of epidemic with P.I.C.s. We have adopted effective measures to protect the health and safety of the island countries’ nationals including students in China.”
President Xi Jinping made his first visit to the epicentre of the virus this week, Wuhan in Hubei Province to visit the epidemic prevention and control work sites.
The embassy said his visit “boosted morale and confidence” of his people, and that the nation is working hard to fight the epidemic in a cooperative way with the global community.
In China, COVID-19 has begun to slow down and some shut down areas of the country are coming to life again. For the Pacific, it is a sure sign that despite the challenges, the epidemic can be contained.
This week there have been just 24 new cases in mainland China, a significant drop from previous weeks.
Ambassador to Samoa, Chao Xiaoliang said while news out of China is positive, the situation still needs to be monitored and the epidemic contained.
“At present, many countries are also facing the threat of the epidemic, and we share the same sorrow and pain with the countries where the outbreak is getting more severe,” he said in an opinion piece, published in the Samoa Observer.
“In the spirit of a community with a shared future for mankind, China is strengthening cooperation at regional and international level, sharing information and experience timely, and coordinating policies and resources with other countries and the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.).”
China has established technical communication channels with several international agencies and bodies, and in countries with high epidemic risk or fragile health systems like the Pacific.
“Expert teams are being sent to relevant countries for cooperation and exchanges. The Chinese government has donated US$20 million to W.H.O. to support it in carrying out international cooperation in fighting the outbreak of COVID-19,” Mr. Chao continued.
Earlier this year, a China and W.H.O. delegation to Wuhan conducted intensive research on the virus and containment measures.
The leader of the delegation, Dr. Bruce Aylward said China’s measures against the spread of COVID-19 can and should be repeated by other countries, so that no one has to “start from ground zero.”