March 19 was a special day. For the first time since the outbreak began, no new domestic transmissions of COVID-19 were reported in mainland China. This is truly a milestone in China’s months-long battle against COVID-19.
No new domestic cases in a country of 1.4 billion people — that brings a strong sense of hope and confidence to the world, as it demonstrates that the disease is preventable, controllable and curable.
Facing the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, China rises to fulfill its duties as a major and responsible country. China’s concrete actions speak volumes of its resolve to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. President Xi Jinping attaches great importance to the international cooperation in COVID-19 prevention and control and has kept close contact with other world leaders.
China’s efficient and effective head-of-state diplomacy plays a unique and significant role at the unusual moment in promoting cooperation between China and other countries and deepening friendship between the Chinese people and peoples in the rest of the world.
China has donated US$20 million to the World Health Organization in support of disease prevention and control, in particular the public health systems of other developing countries. China has undertaken an enormous national mobilization to speed up production in response to the huge demand of global medical supplies.
The production capacity of masks has grown by five times in a short period of time, and the output of masks now exceeds 100 million per day. The production of protective gear and forehead thermometers, among other urgently needed supplies, has grown rapidly. Test kits are quickly being developed and put into mass production.
While making every effort to combat the disease at home, China has endeavored to overcome difficulties and provide substantial assistance to other countries and regions where COVID-19 is taking a toll.
China and ASEAN member states have maintained close cooperation since the outbreak began, which demonstrates our traditional friendship of standing together in times of difficulties.
In recent days, China has been increasing assistance to ASEAN member states where COVID-19 has spread widely. On March 21, 100,000 test kits, 100,000 surgical masks, 10,000 N-95 masks and 10,000 sets of personal protective equipment donated by the Chinese government to the Philippines arrived in Manila. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin, who attended the handover ceremony, called it “tremendous help and invaluable support from China”.
On March 23, seven medical experts, the first medical team sent by the Chinese government to an ASEAN member state, together with medical supplies, arrived in Phnom Penh.
On the same day, the first batch of medical supplies from China arrived in Indonesia. More assistance to Indonesia and the ASEAN Secretariat has also reached Jakarta.
Apart from the official assistance provided by the Chinese government, some local Chinese administrations, private entities and individuals have also extended a helping hand to ASEAN member states by donating a large amount of medical supplies and equipment. The quick assistance delivered through a streamlined process fully reflects the close bonds and deep friendship between our peoples.
At this critical moment when the world unites as one and fights the pandemic, there are also a few people with ulterior motives out there who deliberately link the novel coronavirus to China and stigmatize China nonstop, which the Chinese people are indignant at and strongly opposed to. The origin of the novel coronavirus is a matter of science that requires a scientific and professional assessment.
There is a clear consensus within the WHO and the international community that a virus shouldn’t be linked to any specific country or region and that such stigmatization should be rejected. What those people have done will not help with international cooperation but only waste precious time that should be used to curb the pandemic, and it inflicts real harm on their own people and international cooperation.
The pandemic is still spreading worldwide. In the face of this severe, common test of mankind, China acts upon its profound convictions that mutual and timely assistance is of paramount importance and that kindness and gifts must be repaid.
In this spirit, China will continue to work with ASEAN and others in the international community to meet the challenge head-on, protect the health and safety of our people and strive for a community with a shared future for mankind.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to ASEAN
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.