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China working round the clock to stop virus

OPINION
By Wu Peng | February 4th 2020
A worker takes body temperature measurement of a man at the entrance to a residential compound following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in Wuhan on February 1, 2020. [Reuters]

The coronavirus epidemic which broke out in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019 is an international concern that requires global efforts to combat.

The measures put in place by the government of the People’s Republic of China in preventing a further spread of this epidemic are remarkable. Under the leadership of the central government and with dedicated efforts from local governments and the whole society, the nationwide emergency-management system has begun to take full effect.

The international community has paid close attention to China’s actions to control the epidemic. With utmost openness and promptness, the Chinese government is working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO). On the evening of January 30, the WHO declared the 2019-nCov epidemic a “public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)”. China’s mainstream media reported the news instantly, indicating that the Chinese people are fully confident of conquering the epidemic.

This is manifested by a full quarantine on Wuhan City announced about 10 days ago when public transport was grounded, schools suspended and public gatherings banned. On February 2, authorities in Wuhan delivered Huoshenshan Hospital, which was built from nothing to the first special coronavirus hospital with 1,000 beds within 10 days, to the military medical teams.

Had the Chinese government not taken determined efforts to quarantine the places with concentrated confirmed cases, the deadly virus may have spread all over the world and generated devastating impact on the global economic and public health systems. As WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out at a press conference on January 30, “the Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak despite the severe social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people”.

Chinese Central government has been on high alert since the early days and activated the public health emergency response mechanism. Rapid mobilisation at the top level catapulted the whole nation into instant reaction. Since January 29, more than 6,097 medical staff and professionals from other cities have been working in Wuhan and other regions in Hubei. Medical supplies including face masks, protective suits, and medicines are arriving in epidemic areas. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has urged medical suppliers across China to restore to their full productive capacity to ensure sustained provision of all necessary items. Vegetables, food, and other life necessities have been sent from other places to Wuhan for the nine million residents there.

Across China, all the 31 provinces and municipalities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have also taken serious measures on first-level response to this major public health emergency. At the moment, most of the confirmed cases reported in regions other than Hubei are imported infections - patients have either traveled to or lived in Wuhan or come into close contact with infected victims.

For now, top priorities for local governments include, identifying and caring for symptomatic patients, advising and monitoring people with Wuhan travel records to self-quarantine.

China is doing everything to prevent and control this epidemic by employing high efficiency, modern scientific approaches and tailor-made policies across the country. There is no doubt the actions of the Chinese government and people are key to the global campaign against this epidemic.

As the Ambassador of China to Kenya, I assure Kenyans and the Chinese community in the country that we are working closely with the Kenyan government to ensure the spread of the disease is contained.

I am deeply impressed by the measures taken by the Kenyan government to stop this epidemic from entering spreading the country, with thorough screening of passengers arriving from affected countries, as well as other announced preventive and control measures.

From the embassy, we continue to monitor the entry of our nationals into the country and have instructed them to strictly adhere to the prevention and control measures. So far, there is no confirmed case of coronavirus among Chinese citizens in Kenya.

I fully understand the concerns and fears of families of Kenyans living or studying in China. I wish to assure all that the embassy keeps close contact with Chinese central and local authorities monitoring the status of all Kenyan nationals in China, in particular Kenyan students in Wuhan City. I have been told they are in good health and safe. Some Kenyan students who are keeping close contact with the embassy wish to convey the message to their families that they are doing great, and they have faith they will triumph soon.

My embassy will continue providing help to those in need within our capacity. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] if any Kenyan student in Wuhan needs help in this difficult time.

 Mr Peng is Chinese Ambassador to Kenya.

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