Negating western allegations of information blackout, non-cooperation, and harsh actions against whistleblowers, President Xi Jinping in his address to the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) underlined that China acted with openness, transparency, and responsibility in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and has “done everything in its power to support and assist countries in need”.
President Xi said the world is facing the most serious public health emergency since World War II, which has ravaged over 210 countries, affected some seven billion people and claimed more than 300,000 lives. But the world has forged extraordinary synergy with love and compassion in the fight against COVID-19, he said. The virus does not respect borders, nor race or nationality; however, the international community has not flinched and tackled it head-on.
President Xi’s Proposal
President Xi has laid out six proposals to effectively eliminate the threat of COVID-19. First, and the most urgent task, is control and treatment. “We need to deploy medical expertise and critical supplies for prevention, quarantine, detection, treatment, and tracing to the most affected areas. The faster we deploy them, the sooner we could stem cross-border transmission.” Sharing of information, experience, best practice, and international cooperation on testing methods, clinical treatment, and vaccine research and development are crucial, he said.Second, the World Health Organization should lead the global response. Under the leadership of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO has made a major contribution in leading and advancing the global response to COVID-19, he said. At this crucial juncture, to support WHO is to support international cooperation and the battle for saving lives, he stressed, calling on the global community to increase political and financial support to the UN body.
Third, is to provide greater support to Africa. African countries have weaker public health systems. “Helping them build capacity must be our top priority. The world needs to provide more material, technological, and personnel support. China has sent a tremendous amount of medical supplies and assistance to over 50 African countries and the African Union. Currently, 46 Chinese medical teams are in Africa helping with COVID-19 containment efforts,” the Chinese leader said.
Fourth, countries must strengthen global governance in the area of public health. “We will eventually prevail over the coronavirus, yet this may not be the last time a major health emergency comes knocking at our door. Given the weaknesses exposed by COVID-19, we need to improve the governance system for public health security,” he said.Fifth, the international community must restore its economic and social development. Where conditions permit, countries may reopen businesses and schools per WHO’s recommendations. Meanwhile, efforts should be stepped for stabilizing global industrial and supply chains and restoring the growth of the world economy, he added.
Sixth, countries must strengthen international cooperation. Mankind is a community with a shared future. Solidarity and cooperation is our most powerful weapon for defeating the virus. It is the key lesson the world has learned from fighting HIV/AIDS, Ebola, avian influenza, and other major epidemics.
China’s Assistance to Countries
President Xi also announced a range of financial and other assistance for the global community to help fight the pandemic in his address to the two-day virtual summit, beginning May 18. He said China will provide USD$2 billion over two years to help with COVID-19 response and economic and social development in developing countries. China will work with the UN to set up a global humanitarian response depot in the mainland to ensure the operation of anti-epidemic supply chains and foster “green corridors” for fast-track transportation and customs clearance. It will also establish a cooperation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals and accelerate the building of the Africa CDC headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness. He also announced cheaper vaccines for developing countries and Debt Service Suspension Initiative for t
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