Join Hands Together to Fight Against the New Coronavirus Epidemic in Wuhan, China

Source:MFA 2020-01-31

  The outbreak of the epidemic of the new coronavirus-related pneumonia in Wuhan of Hubei province has attracted worldwide high attention. Sorry to say thatas of midnight of January 23, a total of 830 confirmed cases of new coronavirus-related pneumonia and 25 deaths have been reported. Two cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong, two in Macao, one in Taiwan, three in Thailand (two have been cured),one in Japan (already cured), one in the ROK, one in the United States, two in Vietnam and one in Singapore.

  President Xi Jinping and the Chinese government attach great importance to the prevention and control of new coronavirus-related pneumonia and always put the safety of people's lives and health first. A strict national prevention and control program has been swiftly put in place. We have made every effort to educate the public nationally on how to prevent the disease.

  In response to the infectious situation of the epidemic and the large flow of people during the Spring Festival, the Chinese government has made the prevention and control of new coronavirus-related pneumonia a national priority. China has set up a national joint prevention and control mechanism led by the National Health Commission and composed of 32 governmental departments, to effectively strengthen the prevention and control of the epidemic.

  At present, the Hubei Provincial Government has launched a contingency response program for major public health emergencies. The local government and medical staff all are working hard to combat the spread of the epidemic and to treat the diagnosed patients with the full support of the Chinese government and people across the country.

  In order to stop the spread of the source of the disease, Wuhan City has suspended the operation of city buses, subways, ferries, and long-distance passenger transportation starting from 10:00 on January 23, temporarily closing the departure channels of airports and train stations, and requiring local citizens not to leave Wuhan without special reasons. The Chinese government and people have demonstrated their responsibility with practical actions and will surely win the battle againt the epidemic.

  At the same time, in an attitude of openness and transparency and a high degree of responsibility for global health security, the Chinese government timely released the latest epidemic situation and progress in prevention and control, promptly shared the full genetic sequence of the new coronavirus with the World Health Organization (WHO), and organized Chinese experts to set up a special team with WHO experts to carry out joint research. Four expert communication meetings have been held, and WHO experts have been invited to Wuhan for field inspections and visits to get to know the epidemic situation, work out countermeasures, and jointly respond to the epidemic. China has notified and shared the epidemic information with the WHO and relevant countries, as well as China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions a few times, timely verifies and releases the information of suspected and confirmed cases. As of January 20, the information has been shared 15 times in total.

  Based on the current situation in Wuhan and China, the WHO announced on 23 January that it is too early to designate the new coronavirus-related epidemic in Wuhan a public health emergency of international concern.

  Since 2003 when China responded to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), China has set up a relatively complete national emergency system for the prevention and control of new infectious diseases and accumulated practical experience of public health incidents by coping with SARS, H1N1 influenza, bird flu, and Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Africa. With the extensive understanding and support of the Chinese people and the international community, we are confident and capable of quickly winning the battle on epidemic prevention and control.

  At present, the epidemic in Wuhan is still developing. A large number of South Africans are worried about the safety of traveling to China. Parents of South African students who are studying in China, especially in Wuhan, are more worried, and some even worry that the epidemic will be imported into South Africa. We fully understand it and hope that friends from South Africa and other countries could believe in the Chinese government and people who will make every effort to ensure the health and safety of each and every foreigner in China, especially the international students.

  We would like to take this opportunity to inform you responsibly: First, the epidemic of new coronavirus infections originated from and concentrated in Wuhan City of Hubei Province, China. Because of its infectious nature, the Wuhan Municipal Government has adopted the strictest entry and exit control. Public transportation to and from Wuhan is temporarily closed. Friends from South Africa are requested not to go to Wuhan for the time being, and South African friends in Wuhan now should not leave the city or return to SA at this moment.

  Secondly, there are designated and back-up hospitals for the treatment of pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus in Wuhan and other places in China, and an effective response program has been formulated. If there is a suspected illness, the person can contact the local medical institution as soon as possible to seek medical treatment and receive treatment in time.

  Third, after the outbreak, the Ministry of Education of China has required the education management departments of foreign students in universities in Wuhan and other cities in China to immediately launch emergency response plans and take effective measures to ensure the health of foreign students, including South African students. It is hoped that the parents can tell the South African students in China to actively cooperate with the university, strictly abide by relevant regulations, and work together to effectively prevent and control the epidemic.

  Fourth, the Chinese government has adopted strict preventive measures such as temperature screening at airports and ports to prevent the spread of the epidemic. On 23 Jan., the South African Department of Health also announced prevention and control measures, and has conducted temperature screening at entry and exit ports to strictly prevent the spread of the virus and the epidemic.

  To win the battle against this unexpected epidemic requires the concerted efforts of the international community. We are ready to share information on epidemic detection, investigation and risk assessment with other countries in a timely manner, and unite international medical forces to carry out vaccine research and development. We are also committed to strengthening joint prevention and control cooperation with African countries including South Africa, so as to strictly prevent epidemic import, and jointly maintain global and African public health security.

  In order to keep the public updated of the latest situation and handle the epidemic, friends from all sectors are welcome to log on to the official website of the Chinese Health Authorities (http://en.nhc.gov.cn/).

  In case of a suspected imported case or help, you are welcome to report the situation to the Chinese side through the official channels, or contact the Chinese Embassy in South Africa through the emergency telephone number 0027-12-4316500 (from 9: 00 to 16: 00) or twitter account @AmbLINSongtian.

Appendix:

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