This year’s World Health Assembly that was recently held virtually came at a very critical moment as the human race battles the novel coronavirus. What we are facing is the most serious global public health emergency since the end of World War II.
Catching the world by surprise, Covid-19 has hit over 210 countries and regions, affected more than seven billion people and claimed over 400,000 precious lives. The history of human civilization is one of fighting diseases and tiding over disasters. The virus does not respect borders, race or nationality. Confronted by the ravages of Covid-19, the international community has not flinched.
People in all countries have confronted the virus. People have looked out for each other and pulled together as one. With love and compassion, they have forged extraordinary synergy in the fight against Covid-19.
China made painstaking efforts and enormous sacrifice to turn the tide on the virus and protect the life and health of her people. The country has acted with openness, transparency and responsibility, providing critical information to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and relevant countries in a timely fashion.
This included release of the genome sequence at the earliest possible time, and sharing control and treatment experience without reservation. But as the virus rages, China proposes more measures to bring it under control.
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First, we must urgently do everything possible for Covid-19 control and treatment. This involves putting people first, for nothing in the world is more precious than people’s lives. We need to deploy medical expertise and critical supplies to places where they are needed most. We need to take strong steps in such key areas as prevention, quarantine, detection, treatment and tracing.
Indeed, the world must hasten to curb the global spread of the virus, and stem cross-border transmission. We need to step up information sharing, exchange experience and best practice, and pursue international cooperation on testing methods, clinical treatment, and vaccine and medicine research and development. We also need to continue supporting global research by scientists on the source and transmission routes of the virus.
During the WHA, China also asked the world to provide greater support for Africa, observing that African countries have weak public health systems.
“Helping them build capacity must be our top priority in Covid-19 response. The world needs to provide more material, technological and personnel support for African countries,” noted President Xi Jinping in his address.
In view of the weaknesses and deficiencies exposed by Covid-19, we also need to improve the governance system for public health security in order to respond more quickly to public health emergencies and establish global and regional reserve centers of anti-epidemic supplies.
Mankind is a community with a shared future. Solidarity and cooperation is our most powerful weapon for defeating the virus. This is the key lesson the world has learned from fighting HIV/AIDS, Ebola, avian influenza, influenza A (H1N1) and other major epidemics. And solidarity and cooperation is a sure way through which we, the people of the world, can defeat this novel coronavirus.
Ultimately, we must restore economic and social development. While working on an ongoing basis to contain the virus, countries where conditions permit may reopen businesses and schools in an orderly fashion in observance of WHO’s professional recommendations. In the meantime, international macroeconomic policy coordination should be stepped up and the global industrial and supply chains be kept stable and unclogged to restore the world economy.