Ambassador Lu Kun Publishes a Signed Article Entitled "The Worldwide Spread of COVID-19 Calls for Global Health Cooperation"

On March 11, H.E. Lu Kun, Chinese Ambassador to Dominica published a signed article entitled "The Worldwide Spread of COVID-19 Calls for Global Health Cooperation", to call for building a global health community that will enhance collective response to global public health challenges.

Following is the full text of Ambassador Lu's article:

Recently, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has become a global concern, posing a formidable challenge to global public health security. As disease knows no border, it calls for international cooperation to address this epidemic and other diseases that may emerge down the road. Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China proposes, under such circumstances, to build a global health community that will enhance a collective response of the international community to global public health needs.

Current Epidemic Situation in China and the World

Since the outbreak, China has engaged in an all-out, people's war against the epidemic. Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, who has personally presided over the epidemic response, China has put in place a nationwide mechanism to contain the disease effectively. Standing at the forefront of this battle, China has lived up to its responsibility as a major country and made a substantial contribution to global public health security. The strong leadership displayed in the containment efforts, the heroic acts of the Chinese people and the signature Chinese strength, efficiency and speed are all highly acclaimed across the globe. As a result, a positive momentum is building up as the epidemic situation is turning for the better. As of 10 March, a total of 80,778 confirmed cases had been reported and 61,475 patients had been cured and discharged from hospitals, which means the recovery rate has kept going up to over 75% while the fatality remains below 4%. The daily increase of confirmed cases in Wuhan dropped below 20 for the first time on 9 March, while no new confirmed cases have been reported in other localities in Hubei for five consecutive days. Nationwide (except Hubei), no locally transmitted confirmed cases were newly reported in the past three days since 7 March. Given the steadily improved situation in China, President Xi Jinping stressed the need to implement targeted and well-planned measures to resume work and production and ensure orderly flow of people, funds and goods, coordination between production, distribution and sales, and synergy between domestic and foreign trade, all in a bid to minimize the damage caused by the epidemic.

While China is bringing its epidemic under control, the situation in the rest of the world worsens. As of 10 March, COVID-19 has reached over 100 countries with more than 40,000 confirmed cases outside China. Among the worst-hit countries, a total of 10,149 confirmed cases had been reported in Italy, 9,000 in Iran, 7,755 in the Republic of Korea (ROK), respectively. Speaking at a daily briefing on 9 March, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real. He called on all countries must take a comprehensive blended strategy for controlling their epidemics and pushing this deadly virus back.

International Cooperation in Combating the Epidemic

China, acting in an open, transparent and responsible manner, has actively pushed for international cooperation in its efforts to curb the spread of the virus. On the one hand, China has pursued communication and coordination with the international community to enhance a collective response. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros in China and invited WHO experts to conduct field inspections in Beijing, Guangdong, Sichuan and Wuhan, after which valuable suggestions are offered in regards to disease containment efforts in China and across the world.

On the other hand, China has facilitated information-sharing with the aim of strengthening technical cooperation. Besides sharing the complete genome sequence, primers and probes of the coronavirus upon identifying the pathogen, China also released the technical documents in epidemic prevention and control as well as diagnosis and treatment plans to over 100 countries and 10 international and regional organizations. Over 20 technical exchanges have been carried out through panel discussion and teleconferences with the WHO, ASEAN, EU, African Union, CARICOM, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, South Pacific island countries as well as Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Georgia and others.

While putting up this tenacious fight, China receives tremendous show of solidarity from the international community. Leaders of more than 170 countries and heads of more than 40 international and regional organizations have extended their condolences and support to China. More than 300 political parties and organizations from 120 countries have sent over 500 messages to General Secretary Xi Jinping and the Central Committee of Communist Party of China . As of 2 March, 71 countries and 9 international organizations had donated prevention and control materials, including masks and protective suits to China. Dominica, as a true friend of China in the Caribbean, also expressed its support by means of writing to Chinese leaders, issuing public statements in Parliament and announcing the donation of facial masks.

Chinese people appreciate and will keep in mind those acts of compassion and gestures of goodwill from all corners of the world. In return, China is offering assistance to countries and regions where the epidemic is taking a toll by providing COVID-19 testing kits and other medical supplies to Pakistan, Japan, ROK , Iran, Italy and African countries and by sending medical experts to Iran, Iraq and Italy to help contain the virus. China has also announced a 20 million US dollar donation to the WHO for global disease control efforts, especially in helping small and medium-sized countries with vulnerable public health systems to shore up lines of defense. 

The Need for Building a Global Health Community

This COVID-19 outbreak is major test for China's and for global governance system and capacity, having laid bare inadequacies in global health governance and highlighted the urgency to buttress the system. As public health emerges as a common challenge to all countries, China is ready to work with the rest of world to address these challenges. Public health issues should be moved up on the international agenda. Guided by President Xi's vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China is committed to international and regional cooperation on epidemic response and other public health issues. Thus, there is a need to build a global health community that will enhance a collective response of the international community to global public health challenges, facilitating the sharing of information and best practice, intensifying joint R&D of antiviral drugs and vaccines, and securing the supply of medical materials and daily necessities during critical times.

The history of human civilization is a history of fighting diseases. This outbreak is another sobering reminder that in this age of globalization, the futures of countries are closely linked. Therefore, building a global health community is the right way to go. China will take this outbreak as an opportunity to call on all countries to join hands in response to the common challenges facing mankind, improving the health and well-being of people all over the world and building a global village where we all have a stake in each other's success.

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