Solidarity and Cooperation Rather Than Scapegoating Is the Most Potent Weapon against COVID-19

May 20, 2020

By Hu Zhangliang, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Sierra Leone

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At present, the COVID-19 pandemic is still ravaging the world, posing enormous threat to people’s lives and health and bringing formidable challenge to global public health security. What should we do? To take responsibility, get united and cooperate with each other, or keep shifting the blame and smearing partners in this battle? The choice will determine whether we can protect our people and whether the human race can win the fight against the virus.

H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that mankind, as a community with a shared future, can only counter global risks and challenges through solidarity and coordination. In March this year, President Xi put forward important proposals calling upon all countries to work together to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic at the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit, which were warmly received by the international community.

In this global fight against COVID-19, China promotes the building of a community with a shared future for mankind with solid actions. Through united efforts and arduous struggle, China has acquired strategic achievements at this stage and successfully safeguarded the health security of one-fifth of the world’s population. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has been open, transparent and responsible in sharing related information, data, experiences of control and prevention as well as diagnosis and treatment therapies with the international community including WHO and many other countries. China’s great efforts has bought the world time to control the spread of the pandemic.

Out of humanitarian considerations, China adjusted her industrial capacity to produce medical supplies as much as possible for the world to combat COVID-19. China has also been providing assistance to other countries to the best of her ability. Up to now, China has donated medical supplies to over 150 countries and international organizations, including Sierra Leone and other African countries. China has sent medical teams to a number of countries to provide help. Chinese medical experts have held video conferences with their counterparts from more than 160 countries and international organizations.

Meanwhile, China has made major breakthroughs in the developing and research of vaccines and drugs. China leads in the resumption of work and production, which is conducive to maintaining the stability of international supply chain and redressing a global economic downturn. China has been upholding multilateralism and actively promoting international cooperation to contain the virus.

So far, the Chinese government and people have provided four rounds of much-needed medical supplies to Sierra Leone, including 7,200 PPEs, 2,500 N95 respirators, 111,000 surgical facial masks, 21,000 testing kits, 18,900 swabs and viral transport medium, medical goggles, medical gloves, medical shoe covers, thermometer guns and ventilators etc.. Currently, the Chinese government is preparing for additional assistance to Sierra Leone.

The three Chinese Medical Expert Teams under the Chinese government aid program have been working around the clock to help test samples and treat cases. The Sierra Leone-China Friendship Fixed Biological Safety Laboratory, the Tropical Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control Center in 34 Military Hospital and the Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital built with the Chinese government assistance have been designated as essential COVID-19 testing and treatment units in Sierra Leone.

China’s sacrifice and contribution to the global fight against COVID-19 is there for all to see and the international community has given fair acknowledgement of this. However, certain western politicians and media outlets turned a blind eye to the facts and called white black. In order to deflect people’s attention from their inadequate response to COVID-19, leaders of certain countries have been fabricating and spreading preposterous allegations of one kind or another. They claimed that ‘Wuhan is the origin of the virus‘, ‘the virus was constructed by the Wuhan Institute of Virology‘. They hyped that the international community should hold China accountable and make her pay for the damages. They clamored to conduct the so-called “international independent investigation” on China.

These allegations have neither moral foundation nor scientific and legal basis. The pandemic is an assault of an unknown virus on humans, and no one can predict it. China is also a victim, not a beneficiary, nor a culprit.

Being the first to report the virus does not mean that Wuhan is its origin. The origin is yet to be identified. Renowned scientists from the US, UK, France, Germany and other countries have refuted the ‘virus originates from Wuhan‘ allegation. Recently, there have been reports that long before China reported its first case, COVID-19 cases had already happened in others countries, and the actual first case in the US was far earlier than it was announced, which further proved the complexity of the virus source tracing.

The so-called “international independent investigation” instigated by certain countries against China is but a presumption of guilt, to which China of course firmly opposes. If there should be such an investigation, those who failed to take effective measures to contain the virus, thus leading to the further spread of it in their territories and beyond, should be the ones to be investigated.

A pandemic is a global public health emergency. There is no such a thing as “state responsibility” of the first country to report cases. AIDS was first reported in the US in the 1980s and then swept across the world, causing untold sufferings to countless victims. Did anyone come forward and ask the US to be held accountable? The 2009 H1N1 flu, which was first diagnosed before breaking out on a large scale in the US and then spread to 214 countries and regions, killing 150,000 to 570,000 people. Did anyone ask the US to offer compensations? The Ebola epidemic in 2014 caused huge losses to some West African countries. Is it fair to require these countries to be responsible for this?

In face of this pandemic, no country can stay immune on its own. The most potent weapon is solidarity and cooperation. It is time to end the scapegoating and blame game. It is time for the international community to work together for the final victory at an early date.