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World must give China support against virus

By Moaaz Awan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-02-06 13:36

[Liu Xiaoliang/China Daily]

As China fights to contain the viral outbreak centered in Wuhan, where medical supplies are increasingly under stress, the Pakistani government has sent its first consignment of aid to China to facilitate the Chinese government’s fight against the novel coronavirus.

The Pakistani government has allocated 300,000 medical masks, 800 hazmat suits and 6,800 pairs of gloves from stocks of public hospitals around the nation and transported the aid to China. Medical supplies from Pakistan arrived in China on Feb 1. The official Twitter account of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “To help China fight against novel coronavirus, Russia, Pakistan, ROK, Belarus, France, Germany, Malaysia and UNICEF and many others are providing assistance and support to China. Thanks to you all! A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

This move by Pakistan is gesture by the Pakistani state and people to show solidarity with their brethren in China. The people of Pakistan are also standing with the Chinese nation. Usman, a Pakistani teacher at Changsha Medical College, has volunteered to go to Wuhan to help out with the medical emergency. Usman graduated from Hunan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a bachelor's degree in 2012, and a master's degree in medicine at Central South University in Changsha. After graduation, he became a foreign teacher at Changsha Medical College. During the four years since his return to his hometown, he has been unable to forget China and Changsha, and said China has provided him with good opportunities for education and employment and helped him realized his dream.

In ancient times, the Chinese used to say “The mountains are high and the emperor is far” to represent the lack of coordination between central and local governments. This time, however, as soon as the intensity of the outbreak was reported by the local government, the central government sprang into action. First, Wuhan and its 11 million inhabitants were quarantined. Then eight adjoining cities were shut down, too, making the total number of people under quarantine 56 million.

The China Development Bank, one of the country’s major policy banks, offered emergency loans worth 2 billion yuan ($288.3 million) last Friday to Wuhan for prevention and control of the novel coronavirus. The country’s finance ministry allocated 1 billion yuan to support Hubei’s battle against the virus. Authorities in Wuhan decided to build two makeshift hospitals — Huoshenshan with 700 to 1,000 beds, and Leishenshan with a capacity of 1,300 to 1,500 beds, to treat infected patients.

The Chinese authorities have declared all the facts, even making an updated website for the continuous sharing of information regarding the viral outbreak. The WHO has shown complete trust in China’s efforts to contain the virus, which shows the global body’s trust in the Chinese authorities.

Even in this dire situation, there is good news, too. First, the fatality rate of the virus is approximately 2.1 percent, compared to 10 percent with SARS. Second, the Chinese learned some painful but valuable experiences during the SARS epidemic, which was useful for prevention. Third, due to the involvement of technology in Chinese system, it has been easier to identify the movement and spread of the virus. Various apps have been launched to the public so they may identify potential carriers and keep themselves and their families safe.

China, acting as a mature and responsible global player, is voluntarily bearing the brunt of the viral outbreak in physical, emotional and economic terms. Some of the responses have been rather severe, but are necessary to stop the virus from becoming a global problem. The world has to acknowledge these steps and support and strengthen the Chinese fight against the virus. Support can come through medical equipment, expertise and information sharing. The world must get its act together to save humanity.

The author is an observer and a researcher at Tianjin University.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.

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