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With Solidarity, We Will Win The Fight Against Epidemic
-Interview of H.E. Ambassador of China to Brunei Mme Yu Hong on COVID-19 by RTB

On February 27, Ambassador Yu Hong received a live interview by Rampai Pagi of Radio and Television of Brunei on the topics of China’s fight against COVD-19. On February 28, the interview were published on three Chinese newspapers. The full text is as follows:

Question: Since its outbreak in China, COVID-19 has caused worldwide concern. Your Excellency, could you please brief us on the latest situation of China's fight against the epidemic?

A: The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has brought severe challenges not only to China but also to the world. The COVID-19 outbreak is a major public health emergency that has spread in the fastest speed, caused the most extensive infection and is the most difficult to contain in the country since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. President Xi Jinping and Primier Li Keqiang presided respectively over several important meetings on the issue since the start of the outbreak. The Chinese government attaches great importance to containing the epidemic, and puts people's lives and health as its top priority. China has established a comprehensive multilevel nationwide joint prevention and control system focusing on Wuhan and other regions in Hubei Province, with the whole nation mobilized to fight against the epidemic.

The government has made every effort to stop the spread of the epidemic. Wuhan is the epicenter. On 23 January, in accordance with relevant law in China, the Wuhan Municipal Government decided to “lockdown” the whole city to curb the epidemic from spreading to other provinces in China and to the world. At the same time, in order to defer the huge scale population movements, Spring Festival holiday was extended, government and enterprises postponed the resumption of work and the new school semester has been put off.

The government has mobilized resources to support Wuhan. 29 provinces across the country are supporting Hubei Province. The central and local governments as well as the army have dispatched more than 40,000 medical staffs to Hubei Province, among them more than 30,000 to Wuhan. Three mobile P3 laboratories are sent to Wuhan.. The mobilization this time has greatly exceeded that of the scale and speed of the medical rescue in the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Two hospitals designated for the treatment of COVID-19 patients were completed within 15 days, and 16 mobile cabins have opened. With all these arduous efforts, the capabilities to receive and treat patients in Hubei Province especial in Wuhan have been effectively improved.

The number of daily newly confirmed cases and suspected cases across China is going downward continually. The past 12 days have seen a quick drop by 90%. The cured cases are increasing rapidly. New visions of treatment plan have been kept improving and the cure rate is improving significantly. Over 30,000 patients have been discharged from the hospitals. Up to now, the cure rate is about 38%, the mortality rate is around 3.4%. The cure rate outside Hubei Province in China is 66% and mortality rate is 0.8%.

I want to particularly mention that combined with the western medicine, the traditional Chinese medicine is widely introduced into the treatment. The traditional Chinese medicine has been used to treat more than 85 percent of the confirmed cases and plays an important role in alleviating the symptoms, delaying and preventing mild cases from developing into severe ones.

The battle against the epidemic is a people’s war. Chinese people,especially people in Hubei and Wuhan, have showed respective courage、resilience and united in this war without flames and smoke. Tens millions of public security officer, community workers and volunteers have been working in the front line. They are all respective heroes. Without the unity and support of our people, the goal to contain the epidemic will not be able to be achieved.

The COVID-19 patients were once in all provinces and regions of China. Til February 26, 27 provinces and regions including Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province reported no new case, and the number of the newly confirmed cases of the remaining 5 provinces was within single-digit. In 2 provinces, all the patients have been discharged from hospital. Newly confirmed cases in Hubei are also presenting the trend of declining. The strong measures taken by the Chinese government have dramatically reduced the chances for the cases spreading outside China. China’s efforts are not only for the safeguard of the lives and health of its own people, they have also contributed to global public health. We are fully confident, capable, and sure of defeating the epidemic.All provinces are taking measures based on different conditions in each region to combat the epidemic, and aiming to orderly resume the work and production at the same time.

Question: What did China do in the field of International cooperation on fighting the epidemic?

A: Virus respects no border, no race, no language and no religion. From the onset of this epidemic, China, in an open, transparent and scientific manner, has promptly released information about the epidemic to the international community, carried out an unprecedented international cooperation, curbed the spread of the epidemic beyond our borders with all-out efforts, and earned precious time for global epidemic prevention and control. Chinese scientists and medical professionals, who deserve a special tribute, have made important contributions to the treatment of patients and the prevention work. Up to now, confirmed cases outside China account for around 3.48% of the world's total, which illustrates that the impact of COVID-19 on the world is far lower than infectious diseases such as H1N1, and the Influenza B breaking out last winter and early spring this year in terms of confirmed cases and moralities.

WHO highly applauds China's attitude of responsibility on many occasions and fully affirmed the decisive measures China has taken. Senior WHO official said that China identified the pathogens and shared genetic sequence of the virus at the earliest, winning enormous time for other countries on the prevention front. At the 146th session of the World Health Organization's Executive Committee, almost every member state lauded China and thanked China for its huge cost and sacrifices in preventing and controlling of the epidemic.

As the epidemic evolves, conspiracy theories, rumors and discrimination have emerged in some countries. Dr Tedros, Director-General of WHO, remarked that “ this is a time for facts, not fear. This is a time for rationality, not rumors. This is a time for solidarity, not stigma.”

Based on the knowledge of this virus and previous experiences in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, WHO has repeatedly advised against restrictions on free movements of persons and goods. It is reasonable for some countries to take measures to strengthen epidemic prevention and detection. But some countries have overreacted, causing unnecessary panic, which is not in line with the WHO recommendations.

China's unprecedented public health responses to the COVID-19 outbreak have yielded notable results in blocking human-to-human transmission of the virus, preventing or at least delaying hundreds of thousands of cases.China has also played a critical role in protecting the international community, buying precious time for countries to adopt active prevention and control measures and providing them with worthwhile experience. China is trying to get back on its feet in terms of the resumption of operation of social, economic, educational and medical institutions slowly, orderly and cautiously. Other countries should swiftly reassess the measures taken toward China. This is the assessment and advice of the joint mission consisting of experts from China and WHO, who conducted a 9-day field trip in four cities in China including Wuhan. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his gratitude to all the people in China who are sacrificing many aspects of their normal lives to prevent the virus from spreading to others.

China is not fighting alone and its efforts to combat the epidemic have received global support. Leaders of more than 170 countries and 40 international organizations have sent letters or messages to express their sympathy and support, and dozens of foreign governments and peoples extended their help. His Majesty the Sultan sent letters of sympathy and support to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang respectively, and Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Erywan to State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, which made our hearts warm in this trying time. Last week, China-ASEAN Special Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the COVID-19 was held in Vientiane, Laos. It has set an example for regional countries to jointly deal with future public health events and sent a strong message that China and ASEAN members will get through tough times together. The meeting has reached many import consensus. Including stepping up cooperation in the region against COVID-19, enhancing capacity in emergency preparedness and response; ensuring that people are rightly and thoroughly informed and are not being misled by misinformation and fake news pertaining to COVID-19; strengthening dialogue and exchanges through existing mechanisms such as China-ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting; enhancing capacity building; jointly maintaining people-to-people exchanges, trade and investment activities in the region and, based on the progress of the prevention and control of the epidemic, resume and enhance exchanges and cooperation. We will overcome the epidemic with solidarity and cooperation.

In the past few days, more countries start to report new cases, while some others have more cases reported. The present situation once again illustrate that the fate of humanity is interlinked closely with each other. To win the fight against the epidemic, all countries should work together and extend support to each other.

Question: Since the epidemic has made a tremendous impact on the economy, what do you think of its influence on China’s economy?

A: The epidemic has undoubtedly posed challenges to China's economic and social development, but it will only be short-lived and temporary. Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva is optimistic about China’s economy. She said that China will see a sharp drop in GDP growth in the first quarter of 2020, but only a small reduction for the entire year. To push forward the resumption of work and production, China is establishing an economic and social order adapted to the epidemic prevention and control. The production resumption rate of enterprises above designated size in Zhejiang Province is over 90%, while that rate in Jiangsu Province and Guangdong Province is over 70%. In Shanghai, the production resumption rate of major foreign funded enterprises is over 80%. The production capacity of protective articles once in a bad shortage at the beginning of the outbreak has been greatly resumed and elevated. For example, until the end of last week, the daily output of masks has reached 54 million,2.8 times of the output of the beginning of this month. While the daily output of protective suit has increased from 10,000 to 330,000 in less than one month time.

China's economy has a solid foundation. In 2019, China’s GDP has reached 14.4 trillion USD with a growth rate of 6.1%, which is significantly higher than that of the global economy. China's contribution to the world economic growth stays around 30%. China is the largest developing country in the world with huge room for development. The business environment in China has been improving and the door opening up to the world widening. Considering the effect brought by the outbreak, Chinese government has established a special fund for epidemic prevention and control. We have full confidence that once the outbreak gets contained, the pent-up consumer demand and growth potential will be quickly unleashed, the fundamentals sustaining sound economic growth have not changed and will not change.

Question: How did the outbreak affect exchanges between China and Brunei?

A: The outbreak has drastically reduced the person-to-person exchanges between China and Brunei, but it will only be temporary. In the context of a joint fight against the epidemic, we are also witnessing the positive cooperation between our two countries. With the testing kits provided by BGI, a Chinese company, Bruneian medical agency is able to conduct virus testings with high efficiency. On February 10, Ambassador-at-large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna and her husband as well as guests from all walks of life attended Chinese New Year Open House at my residence, and wrote words of support and care for China and Wuhan on the message board. In addition, we highly appreciate the solicitude and assistance that people from all walks of life in Brunei have extended in various ways, sending a message of warmth and love to the Chinese people in adversity. Among them there are enterprises of Brunei and China or joint ventures, individuals including friends from local Chinese community. Some schools sent short videos to show support to people in China, in Wuhan. In this difficult time, we see the best of people. Such deeds will be engraved in the hearts of the Chinese people. We have opened the Embassy account in Facebook with the account as the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brunei Darussalam, through which we will provide more information about our fight against COVID-19. In recent years, the cooperation between China and Brunei has been developing rapidly with the support of the two governments and two peoples. We will join hands with Bruneian government and people in working tirelessly to promote our bilateral cooperation and friendship between the two peoples.

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