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World can learn from China's win against pandemic

By Wilson Lee Flores | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-09-22 09:31
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Medical workers from Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University pose for a group photo in "Wuhan Livingroom" makeshift hospital in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, March 7, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Despite lies of irresponsible politicians in the United States ratcheting up election demagoguery by scapegoating China and the World Health Organization to cover up their pandemic failures, it is clear China's decisive victory over COVID-19 is inspiring, a source of hope and offers many valuable lessons.

President Xi Jinping honored on Sept 8 the heroes of China's "people's war" against COVID-19 at a ceremony, lauding the country's resilience. This relentless war has put people's lives and health first, guided by the government's people-centered philosophy.

The world can learn from China's hard-fought success, which was made possible due to its leaders' respect for science, transparency, speed, pro-people policies and strong political will.

The success was also due to the Chinese people's unity, unconquerable spirit, Confucian discipline and capacity to make sacrifices.

Contrary to lies and racist propaganda being spread by some politicians ahead of the US election, and malicious demonizing of China and trying to cover up the White House's pandemic failures, China had informed the US of the outbreak in early January.

A US virus hunter went to China in late January to help battle the epidemic.

Time magazine published a report on June 10, with the headline "US Response to COVID-19 is Worse than China's. 100 Times Worse". The report was written by Gavin Yamey, a professor at Duke University, and Dean Jamison, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

They said: "The death rate from COVID-19 in the US is 100 times greater than it is in China, where the virus first emerged in humans and where the Trump administration claims the blame should lie for letting the pandemic get out of hand. … The stark disparity in COVID-19 death rates between the US and other countries illustrates the enormous difference between the effectiveness of the US and successful countries' responses to the pandemic.

"Let's start with China, where the first suspected case of COVID-19 emerged on Dec 8, 2019. By Dec 31, Chinese authorities had informed the World Health Organization about the threat. By Jan 12, Chinese scientists had identified the virus that causes the illness and shared its genetic sequence with the world so that all countries could develop COVID-19 tests and begin working on a vaccine."

China's proactive efforts in responding to the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, helped South Korea's effective containment strategies, while Beijing's prompt sharing of the novel coronavirus genome sequencing was useful in the development of South Korea's testing kits.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said China identified the pathogen with record speed and shared the genetic sequence with the WHO and other countries. This bought invaluable time for other regions around the world to prepare their response, including South Korea.

To further stress the reality that it was the US administration's failure and nothing to do with China or the WHO, Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward's new book Rage says that US President Donald Trump admitted in a taped interview that he knew weeks before the first US coronavirus death that it was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and "more deadly than even your strenuous flus", yet he repeatedly played it down, refused to contain it with science-based policies.

CNN reporter Stephen Collinson on Sept 10 published this view: "It matters who the president is. Millions of lives and livelihoods depend on the character, competence, altruism and integrity of the person in the Oval Office-whatever their party or ideology. But President Donald Trump-as he devastatingly revealed in his own voice to Bob Woodward-met the great crisis of his age with ineptness, dishonesty and an epic dereliction of duty."

In stark contrast, China's science-guided leaders steadfastly met this great pandemic crisis with wisdom, integrity and an epic sense of duty.

Despite having suffered a lot of economic, social and public health costs in its people's war against the pandemic, and despite suffering a barrage of malevolent propaganda and lies by the White House, China persevered and triumphed.

More impressive than its hard-won victory, China has also been generously sharing timely information, medical supplies, aid and advice with many countries worldwide.

China's leaders and people know the pandemic is a complex global problem that requires international cooperation and a united response by all nations.

The author is an analyst and columnist at The Philippine Star newspaper.

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