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China can contain outbreak as it has mobilized entire nation, report says

By CAI HONG | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-02-03 09:06
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Chinese government can manage to contain the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei province, and has spread to other parts of China and foreign countries, according to a report published by the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies on Friday.

China has adopted a whole-of-government approach, coupled with full social mobilization, in the fight against the epidemic.

The central government has been on high alert since the early days when cases of pneumonia caused by the virus were reported. It activated the public health emergency response mechanism as soon as the number of the confirmed cases rose to 200.

On Jan 20, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang instructed authorities at all levels to pay utmost attention to containment of the epidemic. The National Health Commission and local authorities were ordered to activate all-round emergency response mechanisms.

On Jan 25, Premier Li was designated chair of a newly established leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee for the prevention and control of the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus. He visited Wuhan two days later to learn about the latest developments.

The entire nation has been mobilized to fight against the epidemic, with 6,097 medical professionals working in Wuhan and other places in Hubei province, said the report co-authored by seven scholars from the SIIS.

The authors include SIIS president Chen Dongxiao and Zhang Haibing, director of Institute of Global Governance of SIIS.

Medical supplies, including face masks, protective suits and medicines, have been delivered to areas affected by the epidemic. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has urged medical suppliers across China to restore their full productive capacity to ensure sustained supply of all the needed medical items.

The Ministry of Finance has allocated 1 billion yuan ($144 million) in emergency funds for Wuhan and the rest of Hubei province. Vegetables, food and other essential items have been sent from other places to Wuhan.

Local authorities are taking all measures for prevention and control of the epidemic. At present, most of the confirmed cases reported in regions outside Hubei province are imported infections-those who have either traveled to or lived in Wuhan or had close contact with the infected people.

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

Interprovincial assistance and coordination reflects a nationwide consensus on the imperative of standing up to challenges at this critical time.

Charities and Red Cross agencies in Hubei province have received more than 4.26 billion yuan and 5.29 million pieces of materials in donation as of Jan 31, the report said.

China has taken the most comprehensive and rigorous containment and mitigation measures, and many of them go well beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations. By doing so, China is not only protecting the health of its people, but also that of people around the world.

The efforts the Chinese government and people are making have been fully recognized by many governments as well as the World Health Organization. At the briefing on the novel coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, the WHO said it does not recommend travel or trade restrictions on China.

In an interview with United States health news website STAT on Saturday, Mike Ryan, head of the WHO's Emergencies Program, said there is still reason to believe the growing coronavirus outbreak in China can be contained.

He said the gargantuan efforts China is making to try to halt the spread of the virus is buying the rest of the world "precious lead time" to prepare for the possibility they might have to cope with as well, adding: "We need to thank China for that opportunity."

In a phone call with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday, Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said India supports the Chinese government and people's resolute efforts in fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak. India appreciates China's openness, transparency and sense of responsibility in dealing with the outbreak, and has confidence in China's ability to ultimately overcome this challenge.

After a meeting of interministerial and multisectoral committee on coronavirus in capital Abuja on Friday, Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the country will not stop Nigerians from traveling to China or any other country where coronavirus has manifested, according to African news agency PanaPress.

He added that the country was not considering any move to advise its citizens to leave China on account of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Rather than impose travel ban, there will be a travel advisory that will help Nigerians who wish to visit China to do so without any encumbrances to their health and well-being, Alhaji said.

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