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How China beat COVID-19: A foreign doctor's perspective

By Misbahul Ferdous | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-04-21 11:31

Doctors from Beijing's China-Japan Friendship Hospital cheer each other’s spirits before entering quarantine units for severe patients at Tongji Hospital affiliated with Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei province on Feb 3. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/chinadaily.com.cn]

When I first learned about the conoravirus, I decided to come back to Beijing from Saudi Arabia where I attended the International Medical Center conference. I saw frontline doctors working tirelessly and our team talking with Wuhan doctors about current and future treatment plans and people uniting to win against the virus.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a pandemic disease and major public health emergency that has spread far and been among the hardest viruses to contain.

Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has taken the most comprehensive, strictest and most thorough prevention and control measures to battle the epidemic. In their tenacious fight against the coronavirus, 1.4 billion Chinese people have pulled together in tough times and paid a tremendous price.

Prevention is better than cure. China took the appropriate approach to the virus. There is no vaccine or appropriate medicine yet, so the best idea was to isolate all confirmed cases and put all suspected cases under quarantine. In dealing with the outbreak, China has been tailoring interventions based on local situations, quickly finding each infected person, tracing close contacts and placing them under quarantine, promoting basic hygiene measures such as frequent hand-washing, canceling public gatherings, closing schools, extending the Spring Festival holiday, delaying the return to work and the most severe measures of lockdown in Wuhan, epicenter of China's outbreak.

Within a week of the emergence of this new unknown virus, China reported its genetic information to the World Health Organization. In order to control a major epidemic, it is important to have reliable, specific, accurate and fast detection methods to screen infected and non-infected people.

China did tremendous work to quickly share information and data sets for countermeasures, and fast and open reporting of outbreak data and the sharing of virus samples, genetic information and research results are encouraged for all international communities, non-governmental organizations as well as governmental institutions around the world. Through regional and country offices of the WHO, China made national guidelines for the treatment of COVID-19 which is totally free to access. Chinese doctors helped doctors in other countries by sharing real experience and clinical data through Zoom online conferences, helping other countries manage COVID-19 patients.

China has earned trust by promoting a joint response to this global challenge. Since the epidemic broke out, China has placed great importance on international health cooperation. Upholding the vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity, China has been releasing information on COVID-19 since the onset of the epidemic in an open, transparent and responsible manner, unreservedly sharing with the WHO and international community its experience in epidemic response and medical treatment, and strengthening cooperation on scientific research. It has also provided assistance to all parties to the best of its ability. All these efforts have been applauded by the international community.

The virus knows no national borders, and the epidemic does not distinguish between races. Only with solidarity and by cooperation can the international community prevail over the pandemic and safeguard the common homeland of humanity. In the globalized era, we all live in a community with a shared future. "United we stand, divided we fall."

Dr. Misbahul Ferdous is vice-president of the Asian Society of Cardiology and works at Fuwai Hospital in Beijing.

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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