By Qu Ting, Yang Yijun, Liu Kaixiong, Ban Wei, and Yu Jiaxin
According to a statement by the World Health Organization (WHO), the global number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 100,000. The number of countries and regions affected by the epidemic has exceeded 100. The outbreaks and spread around the world posed great challenges to global public health security.
At this critical moment, WHO emphasized that every effort to contain the virus and slow the spread will save lives and buy time for the global society and health systems to identify effective treatments and develop vaccines.
With the most comprehensive, thorough and strict prevention and control measures, China has always stood at the forefront of epidemic prevention and control. Over the past few days, the international community has spoken highly of these measures which have won time for the world's epidemic prevention. China not only did its best to maintain the safety and health of its people, but also made a positive contribution to global public health security.
From more than 15,000 newly confirmed cases to zero new cases in many places, what actions has China taken?
As of midnight on March 8, there were no new confirmed local cases in China (except for Hubei province) for two consecutive days. The number of newly confirmed cases in Wuhan has dropped to less than 50 for two consecutive days.
The number of newly confirmed cases is one of the important indicators to observe whether the epidemic is effectively controlled. From the "highest point" of more than 15,000 newly confirmed cases to zero new cases in many places, what actions has China taken?
The WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 consisting of Chinese and international experts conducted a nine-day inspection in four Chinese provinces from February 16 to 24.
Dr. Bruce Aylward, leader of the mission and senior adviser to the director-general of the WHO, believes that China adopted unprecedented measures of old approach plus modern science and technology that have produced even greater effects and outputs.
This old approach refers to the containment strategy, which includes encouraging people to wash their hands, wear masks, and maintain social distance at the national level; conduct large-scale body temperature monitoring; suspend public meetings and call on people to reduce travel flow. New technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and 5G have added wings to these traditional methods of prevention and control, making them more efficient and convenient.
At the press conference hosted by the China-WHO joint mission, Dr. Bruce Aylward admitted that he once suffered the same biases attitude towards non-pharmaceutical measures. “Whereas China said, OK, we don’t have those (vaccine ortherapeutic). Let’s get out the old ones. Let’s adapt them. Let’s innovate and let’s stop this virus and save lives. And that’s what they’ve done,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward.
Medical personnel from across the country rushed to Wuhan; the construction of Huoshenshan Hospital and Leishenshan Hospital were completed quickly; the rapid dispatch of epidemic prevention and control materials; people sacrificed their normal lives to prevent and control the epidemic... China's courage and selfless love in fighting against the epidemic impressed the international community.
Since the outbreak, the Chinese government has always put people's lives and health in the first place. More than 58,000 people have been cured and discharged to date and the epidemic control is showing positive signs thanks to the most comprehensive, strict and thorough prevention and control measures adopted by the Chinese government.
The China-WHO joint mission analyzed the crude incidence rates (CIR) in various provinces, and estimated that the all-of-government, all-of-society approach adopted by China have probably prevented at least tens of thousands, but probably hundreds of thousands of cases in China. This is an extraordinary achievement."
Experts of the joint mission agreed that China's response to the epidemic has significantly protected the lives of its people and people all over the world, and has built a strong "first line of defense" to prevent the international spread of this epidemic.
Share information with other countries as soon as possible, a transparent and responsible China joins hands with the world to fight against COVID-19
As of now, China has shared multiple technical documents including epidemic prevention and control approaches and diagnosis and treatment programs with more than 100 countries and more than 10 international and regional organizations.
Facing COVID-19, the sly enemy, China also shared information and carried out scientific research cooperation with other countries while fighting the epidemic,
Below is a timetable that records China's actions to actively fulfill its international responsibilities and work with the international community to fight against the virus—
China informed the WHO as soon as possible and maintained communication with the countries concerned after the epidemic outbreak.
On January 12, WHO acknowledged the information of COVID-19's gene sequences shared by China;
On January 21, China released the sequence of primers and probes for COVID-19's nucleic acid detection ...
Anna Popova, director of the Russian Federal Consumer Protection and Public Interest Supervision Bureau and chief epidemic prevention expert, said that Russian researchers developed a method for diagnosing the virus in less than seven days after the virus sequence was released, thanks to the efforts of Chinese medical experts, whose open and swift work was worthy of respect, said Popova.
Zeng Yixin, vice minister of China's National Health Commission, said that China had established close technical level communication mechanisms with the WHO, the European Union, the African Union, and other organizations and relevant countries. China will also support organizations such as the Chinese Red Cross and the Chinese Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to send out expert groups for cooperation, communication and professional technical training with technical institutions of relevant countries.
"For example, in sample testing, how to take the sample, how to test, whether to test the antigen, virus, serum, antibody or all of them? There are many technical details," Zeng Yixin said.
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, cited data released by China many times at the press conference on the fight against COVID-19 hosted by the UK. He said that the Chinese government's daily release of the latest data on the epidemic is very helpful to the outside world.
Keep watch and defend one another, work together to strengthen international joint prevention and control and port control
A Chinese girl wearing a fawn doll hood holding a box with the words "Gratitude from Wuhan" in Japanese, distributed masks to passersby on the streets of Tokyo.
"If you are kind, then you have the most handsome armor," she said.
At present, China has provided aid such as anti-epidemic materials and testing equipment to countries affected by the epidemic, such as the Republic of Korea and Japan, and has sent expert teams to Iran and other countries. The Chinese government has also decided to donate US$20 million to the WHO to support the international cooperation in fighting COVID-19.
Epidemic knows no borders. Mankind is a community of shared destiny, we should keep watch and defend one another in front of the crisis.
At present, China's epidemic prevention and control is under pressure from external imported cases and internal proliferation of local cases. Facing the challenge, should we help each other or beggar-thy-neighbor? China has provided a loud answer.
Cui Aimin, Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry,said that China is willing to strengthen joint prevention and control with relevant countries, jointly strengthen port control measures, strengthen inspection and quarantine, and jointly safeguard the health and safety of people of all countries.
It is reported that the local governments in China will timely adjust the prevention and control measures for foreigners coming to China based on the development of the epidemic. After entering China, the local community will also provide foreigners with the necessary guarantees and assistance to help them solve practical difficulties in life.
"We treat foreign citizens and nationals equally, and implement corresponding measures without discrimination, and will fully take care of the parties' legitimate concerns and respect their religion and customs," said Cui Aimin.
"This is a threat to each of us, and we must be united as one," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO.
Since the epidemic outbreak, more than 60 countries and seven international organizations have reached out to China. When the epidemic is spreading rapidly around the world, China is also closely standing with the people of other countries through the following measures: expiring visas to China can be automatically postponed for two months, actively sharing the epidemic prevention and control standards and guidance materials with global civil aviation companies, and helping small and medium-sized countries with weak public health systems build their defenses ...
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that China’s concrete actions have won itself wide endorsement and appreciation from the world and demonstrated its firm commitment to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.