Stay rational, confident and united in the fight against the coronavirus
The recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China and other places has drawn widespread international attention.
Currently the fight against the epidemic is the most important and urgent task for China. To curb the spread of the virus, the Chinese government has adopted the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures, including closing off the central epidemic area, restricting public transportation, strictly controlling the movement of people, extending the Spring Festival holiday, and stepping up the development of drugs.
It took China just 10 days to build two large isolation hospitals in Wuhan. Thousands of medical personnel across the country have rushed to the front line of epidemic prevention and control, and a large number of enterprises have started to produce protective medical products at full capacity. Many measures adopted by China go far beyond the International Health Regulations and have been praised by the World Health Organisation Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as "setting a new standard for outbreak response."
China has always adopted an open, transparent and responsible attitude to sharing information with WHO and other countries and to strengthen international cooperation. China has actively controlled overseas travel of Chinese citizens and called on the public to be socially responsible in preventing the spread of the epidemic and to strive to reduce the impact of the epidemic on other countries.
Last week, the WHO declared the Novel Coronavirus outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern" with the goal of mobilising more international resources to help countries with weaker health systems to strengthen their responses to the outbreak. WHO emphasizes that this is by no means a vote of no confidence in China. On the contrary, the WHO continues to have confidence in China's capacity to control the outbreak, and Dr. Tedros stressed that there is no reason to take unnecessary measures to interfere with international travel and trade.
Although the situation is still severe and complex, China's various prevention and control measures are producing positive results. As of 6 February, the number of recovered and discharged cases is five times the number of newly added deaths, and the cumulative number of recovered and discharged cases is nearly three times the cumulative number of deaths. At the same time, the spread of the epidemic domestically and internationally is under control. There are about 170 confirmed cases worldwide outside China, less than 1% of the total cases within China. Facts have proved that the epidemic is preventable, controllable and curable.
The virus knows no borders. We are all victims and part of the fight against the epidemic.
We need to be more rational and not sensationalizing. The number of confirmed and suspected cases in China is still increasing, but people's lives are calm and the community is stable. There has been some “noise” in the Australian media claiming that the Chinese government concealed the death toll from the epidemic, and even called Wuhan “zombieland”. These claims are just contrary to the facts. These words of alarmists have harmed the Chinese people's feeling and caused unnecessary panic among Australians. It is hoped that the Australian people can look at the epidemic objectively, impartially, calmly and rationally, and not be misled by untrue reports.
We need confidence rather than panic. Although the number of infected cases of Novel Coronavirus is high, the fatality rate in China is very low, only 2.1%. In 2009, the death rate from H1N1 influenza was 17.4%, the death rate from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was 34.4% in 2012, and the death rate from Ebola was 40.4%. China's detection methods are now more efficient, people's awareness of epidemic prevention has been strengthened, and control measures are more stringent. We are fully confident, capable and well resourced to overcome the epidemic.
We need solidarity rather than alienation. The international community including Australia has expressed sympathy and support for China's fight against the epidemic. We are deeply grateful for this. It is regrettable, however, that Australia has recently imposed entry restrictions on foreign tourists from mainland China, and there have been instances of unfriendly and discriminatory behaviours towards Chinese citizens. It is our wish that Australia can follow WHO's professional recommendations, not overreact or artificially create panic, so that the normal people-to-people exchanges and practical cooperation in various fields will not be affected.
The epidemic is only temporary, while friendship and cooperation will stay in the long run. China is ready to strengthen cooperation with WHO and other countries to safeguard regional and global public health security and take good care of our common home.