March 20, 2020
The Chinese Embassy and the Chinese community in Sierra Leone have yesterday provided multiples of medical materials and a generator plant to the Government of Sierra Leone in preparedness to fight against the Coronavirus Disease, which is currently ravaging the entire universe.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony at the Chinese Embassy on Spur Loop in Freetown, Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Hu Zhanliang said , ‘‘I have the pleasure to donate on behalf of the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese community in Sierra Leone 500 sets of protective gowns, 500 N95 respirators, 1,000 surgical masks, 1,000 medical gloves, 200 medical goggles and one 50 kw generator to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of the Republic of Sierra Leone. These materials are all what the Chinese Embassy and Chinese Community in Sierra Leone has in hand. They are donated to the Sierra Leonean side for the latter’s prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19.’’
He said they have also urgently equipped the Chinese CDC experts at the JUI Sierra Leone-China Friendship Biosafety Laboratory and the Chinese military expert group at the 34 Military Hospital with testing kits which enables them to conduct 1,000 person/times COVID-19 testing altogether.
‘‘This is a show of strong solidarity and genuine friendship between China and Sierra Leone. I believe that these are the most needed items of the Sierra Leonean Government and people at the current stage. I’m sure it will help beef up the capacity of the Sierra Leonean side in facing the challenges,’’ he said.
Ambassador Hu underscores that COVID-19 is currently rampaging in over 160 countries including more than 30 African countries, thus reflecting on the strong leadership of the Chinese to confront the disease and contain it head on.
‘‘Since the outbreak of the epidemic, which is now a pandemic, the Chinese government and people, under the staunch leadership of H.E. President Xi Jinping, have united as one and taken the most comprehensive, most rigorous and most thorough measures to wage a people’s war against it. By leveraging the significant advantage of China’s governance system and with the whole country’s arduous work, the situation has been effectively kept under control in China and keeps turning for better, although pressures and challenges are still there. China’s resolute measures and huge sacrifice have been paid off with positive achievements. China’s enormous contribution has bought the world time and accumulated experience for other countries to get prepared for the spread of the virus,’’ he said.
He expressed they wish that all countries affected by the virus will make earnest efforts to prevent its further spread, adding that what the world needs now is cooperation and solidarity not rumour or stigma, is responsibility and obligations, not fear or panic.
He underscored that though COVID-19 was first discovered in China, it does not necessarily mean that it originated from China.
‘‘ Some people referred to the COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus”, which is totally unacceptable, immoral and ill-intentioned, just as Ebola should not be labelled as African Ebola or Sierra Leonean Ebola.’’
He rcognised the strong leadership demonstrated by President Julius Maada Bio in enhancing preparedness for the fight against the disease.
‘‘I noticed with deep respect that H.E. President Julius Maada Bio has demonstrated strong leadership in arousing the awareness and enhancing the preparedness of the Sierra Leonean government and people to prevent COVID-19. With his wise instruction and the commendable work of his government particularly the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone has so far been free from the virus. The three Chinese medical teams have been working closely with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and they have already been working around the clock in conducting a number of tests. We are glad to see that up to now, Sierra Leone has not recorded a confirmed case. I wish all the best for this beautiful country and people.’’
He said China and Sierra Leone are time-honored reliable friends, adding that the two countries have been supporting each other whenever the needs arise.
‘‘When Ebola broke out here in 2014, the Chinese government promptly dispatched disease control and research experts’ teams to Sierra Leone and donated large amount of equipments and materials. The Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital, JUI Sierra Leone-China Friendship Biosafety Laboratory and the Centre for Tropical Disease Control and Prevention at the 34 Military Hospital etc. are all testimonies to this impressive cooperation. China is still facing great difficulties and challenges caused by COVID-19, but we will continue to share experience with and provide necessary assistance to Sierra Leone within the best of our capacity,’’ he said.
He further disclosed that the Chinese Government has donated 12,000 testing kits to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and that Sierra Leone can apply to grab the opportunity.
He said the founder of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, a famous Chinese business leader, announced on March 16, that Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation will donate 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 facial masks and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields to each of the 54 African countries through the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
‘Sierra Leone can also contact the Government of Ethiopia for getting its share.The Chinese experts held video conferences with their African counterparts to share experience on the prevention and combating of COVID-19. Sierra Leonean friends are welcome to scan the QR code or click the link shown here to get the relevant contents.’
He concluded that the pandemic caused by COVID-19 is their common enemy and that the humankind is of a community of shared future.
‘I’m sure other international partners will also extend helping hands to Sierra Leone and Africa. If we all take action and work closely together, we will definitely overwhelm the pandemic at an early date.’
Minister of Health and Sanitation,Professor Alpha Wurrie, expressed thanks and appreciation to the Government and People of China for the donation, stating that it was too early for the Government of Sierra Leone to have expected such goodies from China, taking into consideration what the country has gone through in the past three months.