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Ambassador Yu Hong Interviewed Respectively by English and Chinese Channels of Radio Television Brunei on China's Fight against the Outbreak

On February 18, Ambassador Yu Hong received interviews of English and Chinese channels of Radio Television Brunei respectively on China’s fight against outbreak.Ambassador Yu gave a full briefing on China's response to combat COVID-19 and WHO's assessment of China’s efforts, and answered questions on the impact of COVID-19 on exchanges between China and Brunei and the works done by the Chinese Embassy in Brunei.Here is the text of the interview by the English Channel.

Q1: What precautionary measures are taken by Chinese Embassy to combat Covid-19

A: After the outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese Embassy in Brunei has done a lot of work related with the outbreak.

First, the Embassy has been introducing what China is doing in fight against the outbreak and to win the understanding and support of the government and people of Brunei. This is a sudden outbreak, and the Chinese people are engaged in a serious battle against it. The Chinese government, from the central to the local level, has established a comprehensive multilevel joint prevention and control system focusing on Wuhan, Hubei Province. China puts people's lives, health, and safety first, and has adopted the most comprehensive, rigorous, and thorough measures to make every effort to curb the outbreak. These measures even exceed the requirements of international health regulations and WHO recommendations. As of February 14th, a total of 217 medical teams with 25,633 medical staffs have been dispatched from different provinces of China, and three mobile P3 laboratories have also been mobilized to the frontline. The army also sent more than 4,000 medical personnel in three batches. These transfers greatly exceeded the scale and speed of the medical rescue in the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Two hospitals dedicated to treating confirmed patients were completed in less than 15 days, with 2,500 beds. At present, 9 mobile cabins have been opened with nearly 7,000 beds. With all these arduous efforts, the outbreak has been brought under control in general. When looking at the development of the outbreak, we should not only look at the overall situation in China, but also look into the situation in Hubei Province and the situation in the rest of China. We should not only look at the confirmed cases, the death cases, but also look at the recovered cases. When we look at total cases in China, we should also look the cases outside China. The new cases outside Hubei decline for 12 straight days since February 3rd, a decrease of more than 70%. The recovered cases have increased rapidly, and more than 9,000 patients have been discharged in the whole country. The national fatality rate is about 2.2%. The fatality rate is around 0.49% if Hubei is not counted. The number of confirmed cases outside China is less than 1% of the total, and the number of confirmed cases outside Hubei Province is less than 16% of the total number in the country. All these facts and data are indicating that the strict and thorough prevention and control measures adopted by the Chinese government are yielding. The disease is generally controllable and curable. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, we are fully confident, capable, and sure of defeating the disease at an early date.

Chinese Embassy in Brunei has been keeping close contacts with the government of Brunei and local medias,introducing the measures taken by the Chinese government for preventing and controlling of the outbreak and providing the latest information. We sincerely hope that people can evaluate the situation in a rational and objective way. On January 31st, Borneo Bulletin published an interview of me on the outbreak. I introduced the measures taken by the Chinese government for the prevention and control of the outbreak, the recent visit of the Director General of WHO to China and the situation of the Chinese tourists in Brunei. On February 1st, the spokesperson of the Embassy responded to a question on WHO’s declaring the pneumonia outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). I myself and other Embassy staffs take different opportunities to brief and explain the people the latest development of the outbreak and respond to people’s concerns. What we need is facts, not panic.

On February 8th, His Majesty sent his condolence messages respectively to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, extended his support for the strong measures taken by the Chinese government, appreciated and supported the tremendous efforts made by the Chinese government and its people. These made us feel very warm. Last week, I had Open House for Chinese New Year. Ambassador-at-large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna and her husband attended with six Cabinet Ministers and guests from all walks of life. I briefed Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna of the outbreak development in China. She listened carefully and wrote on the message board, “We are with you during this difficult situation. I have every confidence that China will be able to overcome this grave situation with the commitment of the government and the people of China and the global support”. The words of His Majesty and Princess Masna conveyed the sincere friendship and the sincerity to overcome the difficulties together in the face of disasters.

Over the past weeks, friends from all walks of life in Brunei, Chinese citizens and enterprises in Brunei including joint ventures of China and Brunei have expressed their sympathy and support in different ways. They have been donating and providing the needed medical articles such as masks, protective suits and gloves, which are in bad shortage in China. I would like to express here my sincere thanks to all of them.

Secondly, we offer assistance to Chinese nationals and businesses in Brunei. We have been making extensive contacts with the major travel agencies in Brunei in order to understand fully the situation of Chinese tourists here and to provide support and assistance. Through our website and WeChat official account, we have been informing the Chinese nationals of the most updated immigration and disease prevention measures taken in Brunei. With myriad of ways, we have been reaching out to the Chinese nationals residing in Brunei, to learn about their situation and offer assistance. Furthermore, we have been guiding the Chinese-funded enterprises in Brunei to do a good job of prevention, and we specifically asked the Chinese nationals who recently came or returned to Brunei to strictly abide by the Bruneian requirement of self-isolation. In the meantime, we have worked with several hotels in Brunei to make reasonable arrangements of refunds to Chinese travel agencies during this trying time.

Thirdly, the Embassy provided assistance to the Bruneian government with information of Bruneian students who studied in China and get them back home.

Q2: How can one protect himself from the disease, What is your advice?

A: Currently, there is no confirmed case in Brunei. To prevent the infection of COVID-19, I think one should take actual situation of Brunei into consideration. Ministry of Health of Brunei has opened a column on COVID-19, specific detailed guidance is available there. Such as, practice simple hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue paper when you cough or sneeze; throw away the tissue paper immediately and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. Avoid close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. Wearing a surgical mask may also reduce the spread of the virus.

At present, it is also a high flu season. Once flu symptoms appear, it will cause concerns against current situation. I think exercise will help to improve immunity and it is always important to be optimistic. Meanwhile, if cough, fever and other symptoms occur, it is recommended to seek medical treatment in time. If you have the flu or a cold, please wear a face mask when going out, and do not attend any gathering. When one plans his or her travel, it is better to understand the requirements of the Bruneian government and follow the rules of self isolation. I believe that everyone will contribute his part to public health. Last but not least, I wish everyone very good health.

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