Stand together to win the battle vs COVID-19
Stand together to win the battle vs COVID-19
Huang Xilian (The Philippine Star) - February 19, 2020 - 12:00am

At present, China’s fight against the COVID-19 outbreak is entering a critical stage. To take this opportunity, I would like to answer five questions which are on top of Filipinos’ concern.

1. Is the epidemic situation in China controllable?

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese government has always put people’s lives and health as the top priority. Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for all-out efforts to rapidly organize epidemic prevention and control, and mobilized all resources in the battle against the virus. China has established a relatively sound mechanism to deal with public health emergency since the outbreak of SARS in 2003. Through unremitting efforts from the Chinese side, the epidemic prevention and control has taken into effect. More and more people have recovered, showing that the epidemic is preventable, controllable and curable. We have all the confidence that the peak and the turning point will come in the near future.   

With the aim to help the Filipinos as well as the international community to get a better understanding of the coronavirus in a scientific and objective way, the Chinese Embassy set up the China Authoritative Report column in Manila Times, Manila Bulletin and the World News Daily to update authoritative information and opinions concerning the coronavirus, we hope that you can keep a close eye on that.

2. What is your view on the travel ban adopted by some countries in response to the epidemic?

 Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the Chinese government has been taking the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures with a high sense of responsibility for people’s health. Many of these measures go well beyond the requirements of the international health regulations. The World Health Organization (WHO) hailed that "China is setting a new standard for outbreak response," suggesting that not to take measures that “unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade.” The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) also urges countries to follow WHO’s suggestions. 

China and the Philippines have maintained close contact in addressing the epidemic. In the face of its own difficulties and emergencies, China stands firmly with the Philippines, safeguarding the health and security of the Filipinos in China and providing all necessary assistance for the repatriation from Wuhan. China also cares about the epidemic situation in the Philippines and the health of the Filipino people. Meanwhile, we hope that the Philippines would respect the professional advice from the WHO while taking measures to avoid interruption of the people-to-people exchanges and trade cooperation between the two nations.

3. What has China and the international community done together to fight against the epidemic?

China has made a huge sacrifice in the battle against the virus, and has protected the other countries around the world. The Chinese government has released information about the epidemic in a timely, open, transparent and responsible manner, as well as responded to concerns of all sides actively. Up to now, the confirmed cases outside China account for less than 1% of the total cases, which shows the tremendous effort and the positive effects achieved by the Chinese government.

We noticed that President Duterte commended China’s effort and expressed support to China  in the battle against the virus. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said the situation is “Showing the Chinese Communist Party’s uncompromising sense of responsibility for the safety of its own people and the protection of the rest of the world.” PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said that the Philippines “assure the Chinese people that they are not alone in this the fight in preventing this disease from spreading. We here in the Philippines we empathize with the People’s Republic of China for what they are going through and we solve this problem not unilaterally but multilaterally.” The Philippine government and people from all walks of life have vigorously donated money and supplies to support China’s epidemic response. We see all these as a gesture of tremendous goodwill and solidarity to the Chinese government and Chinese people.

4. What is your comment on the untrue remarks on the epidemic and the discrimination towards Chinese among some media and on the internet?

The epidemic goes beyond national border, and it is not right to discriminate against a certain person or a certain group of people, and malicious slander and disinformation should be condemned.In the face of the epidemic, we should steer up confidence, and stop spreading rumors. Rumours and panic are more frightening than the virus itself. 

Just like what WHO Director-General Tedros said, “This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumours. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma.” We are pleased to see more and more countries condemn these malicious slander and disinformation. President Rodrigo Duterte, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar and Mayor Isko Moreno among many more government officials have delivered speeches which oppose discrimination. I would also like to join in their appeal. I hope that the Filipinos will remain calm and rational, discern fake news that cause panic, resolutely clarify and refute malicious news and lies, reject discrimination and hatred, unite and cooperate, and overcome difficulties together.

5. What role has the Filipino Chinese play in epidemic prevention and control?

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, people from all walks of life, especially Filipino Chinese, have expressed their sympathy and support for China. Here in the Philippines, the business community and the Chinese associations have donated money and supplies through various channels. This is not only valuable material support, but also spiritual encouragement. On the other hand, the Chinese community have taken positive actions such as donating protective clothes and masks to the Philippines government, and the volunteers from some communities gave free masks to the Filipinos on the streets, which was highly welcomed by the local people, thus enhancing the harmony between different races. I am fully confident that with the concerted cooperation of the international community, the Chinese government and the Chinese people will surely win over  the battle!  ?-Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China

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