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Ambassador Zhang Zuo contributes an article entitled Together in Fighting Covid-19 and Restarting Economy in Honor of Life

2020-05-10

On May 9, 2020, the Nova Makedonija published a signed article by Ambassador Zhang Zuo entitled "Together in Fighting Covid-19 and Restarting Economy in honor of life" in both Macedonian and English on top of its website homepage. The full text is as follows:

Great love knows no borders. In the face of the sudden outbreak of Covid-19, Chinese President Xi Jinping, guided by his firm belief in being responsible to the people and the world, has scientifically directed and personally taken charge of this fight against the epidemic. In the face of multiple outbreaks in the global epidemic, President Xi Jinping solemnly and sincerely called for strengthening international cooperation in epidemic prevention and control, intensified interactions between heads of state, and led joint efforts in prevention and control of the international community as well as accelerating the resumption of work amid regular epidemic prevention and control, in view of promoting building a community of shared future for mankind.

It is imperative to build partnership in times of trouble. Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized that "the epidemic informtion is to be made public in a timely, accurate, open and transparent manner, in response to concerns at home and abroad." On January 20, President Xi explicitly instructed to "release information in a timely manner and to deepen international cooperation". When meeting with visiting Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of WHO on January 28, he stressed that "the epidemic is the devil, and we cannot let it hide."

China has been timely releasing information on COVID-19 since the onset of the epidemic in an open, transparent and responsible manner.On December 27, 2019, China's official agencies received the first case report of pneumonia of unknown cause, and issued the first epidemic notice on December 31, 2019 and reported pneumonia of unknown cause to the WHO at the same time. Starting from Jan. 3, China has been regularly informing the WHO, relevant countries and regions, including the U.S. and China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan about the outbreak. Chinese research teams identified pathogens within a record short time, and shared globally the genome sequence of COVID-19.

On February 16, joint expert team consisting of experts from 8 countries including the U.S. and WHO started a nine-day field visit in China. Right after its domestic prevention and control achieved initial results, China took the initiative to send medical experts to give on-the-spot guidance and set up video conferences with experts across the world and established an online knowledge center for Covid-19 prevention & control, unreservedly sharing its experience in epidemic response, medical treatment, technical guide and standards with the international community.

China has been actively promoting joint research and development of drugs and vaccines with international agencies, including WHO and has built valuable consensus for humanity to overcome the epidemic. Currently, the epidemic is still spreading rapidly around the world. We should not allow blaming to distract our concerted efforts to fight the epidemic, let alone allow political stigmatization to create contradictions and differences. Only by working together and helping each other can the international community prevail over the epidemic.

It is imperative to construct a global village sharing weal and woe. Virus knows no borders. Hardship tests friendship. On January 25, the first day of the Chinese New Year, President Xi Jinping held a meeting to make a comprehensive arrangement to strengthen the prevention and control of the epidemic, emphasizing that the life and health of the people should be the top priority, increasing the rate of admission and recovery, and reducing the infection rate and mortality rate should be prominent tasks, and making maximum efforts to save as many lives as possible.

China is dedicated to protecting every life with love. The overall recovery rate in Wuhan is 94%, and recovery rate of patients in critical conditions is over 89%. The override commitment is to never give up hope, never give up on any patient, no matter the patient is an elderly citizen aged 108, or a baby being born 30 hours ago. After two months of arduous struggle, China has become one of the first countries to control epidemic at home, and accumulated experience and boosted confidence for global anti-epidemic campaign.

In the global fight against the epidemic, all countries in the world have embraced different historical and cultural backgrounds, abandoned ideological prejudice, helped each other and built a global village of equals with a shared future. During the most difficult moment of China's epidemic situation, over 70 countries and international organizations provided material and other assistance to China, and people from countries encouraged Wuhan and China in different languages.

After epidemic containment in China has improved, although the task of preventing domestic resurgence and guarding against imported cases is still arduous, out of the Chinese tradition of gratitude and reciprocity and guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, as well as in the spirit of international humanitarianism, China promptly reached out to extend assistance and enhance cooperation to the best of its capabilities, and opened procurement channels for medical supplies. And the Chinese government has provided urgently needed assistance of medical supplies to over 140 countries and international organizations, injecting a strong impetus into international anti-epidemic campaign.

It is imperative to build an international network for joint prevention and control. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly advocated that "all countries must join hands to sep up the most stringent network of joint prevention". On March 27, President Xi Jinping took a telephone call from U.S. President Donald Trump to confirm that epidemic diseases are the common enemy of mankind, and to win the fight against them, the international community must come together. The Covid-19 is a newly discovered virus. But the moment it was confirmed that the virus could be transmitted people to people, the Chinese government immediately issued a warning to the public. Then on January 23, Wuhan was locked down. At that point, there were only 10 cases reported outside China. On January 25, Hubei Province with a population of 60 million was locked down. On January 27, China suspended all outbound tourists. At that point, there were 37 confirmed cases reported in other regions of the world, including 3 cases in Europe.

On January 30, the WHO announced the outbreak constituted a "public health emergency of international concern". After February 24, epidemic in China became stabilized, but spread rapidly across the world. On February 28, the WHO adjusted upward the risk of global epidemic to "very high". On March 11, it announced Covid-19 epidemic constituted a global pandemic. The WHO made great efforts to coordinate the worldwide anti-epidemic campaign and cooperation.

While working on comprehensive epidemic prevention and control at home, China has joined hands with WHO and the international community to build a joint prevention and control network. On March 26, G20 member states in different time zones held a special video conference. President Xi Jinping attended the special summit and put forward four important initiatives: to be resolute in fighting an all-out global war against the COVID-19 outbreak; to make a collective response for control and treatment at the international level; to support international organizations in playing their active roles; to enhance international macro-economic policy coordination. President Xi also proposed a G20 COVID-19 assistance initiative for better information sharing and policy and action coordination with the support of WHO and to jointly keep the global industrial and supply chains stable as well as a high-level meeting on international public health security. China has played a leading role for countries to act with unity and work together in a collective response.

It is imperative to build a new Silk Road of connectivity. When President Xi Jinping attended the Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit, he mentioned the need to implement strong and effective fiscal and monetary policies to keep global financial markets stable and the global industrial and supply chains stable as well. Before and after the summit, President Xi also mentioned the topic of keeping industrial and supply chain stable when he talked on the phones with leaders of France, UK, Germany and US. He pointed out that to restore the operation of enterprises that play important roles in global industrial chain and ensure the manufacturing and export of key products, will strongly support the global effort of fighting against the pandemic, so as to stimulate the recovery of world economy and keep the global market stable. China is trying to bring its social and economic activities back to normal. Production is gradually reaching its normal level. At the same time, China unswervingly promotes opening-up and communication and coordination among its trade partners. China also introduces freight express to smooth the operation of international logistics and supply chain, in order to jointly realize high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative.

For example, China uses technology to promote the organization and operation of China Railway Express (CRE). With digitalized service upgrades and reconstruction of the information system of CRE, China enables the restart of the cargo line amid of the outbreak and ensures the resumption of work and production. On April 14 (local time), a China Railway Express cargo train departing from Wuhan 10 days ago arrived at Duisburg, Germany. That was the first cargo train departing from Wuhan since the beginning of the epidemic prevention & control. It has sent a positive signal that the lockdown of Wuhan is finally lifted.

The CRE cargo trains have maintained its regular operation and reached 18 countries, 57 cities in Europe. Their unique advantages of segmented transport model and contactless personnel checks take on greater significance amid the epidemic prevention and control. They provided a fast track for Europe to acquire medical supplies and necessities, contributing to anti-epidemic cooperation between China, Europe, and countries along the routes in an effective and efficient manner, and enabling them to work together to make sure that the world economy can see the rainbow after the storm and emerge with a more balanced and sustainable growth.

It is imperative to build a community of health for mankind. Since the outbreak, President Xi Jinping has begun his "telephone diplomacy" by making phone calls with foreign leaders and heads of international organizations on several occasions, and sending condolences to several countries. In his phone call with French President Emannuel Macron, President Xi Jinping stressed that "China will work with France to advance international cooperation on epidemic control and support the central role of the UN and the WHO in improving global public health governance, with a view to building a community of health for mankind." It is the first time that President Xi Jinping proposed "building a community of health for mankind", an important initiative concerning the future for mankind. The fight against the epidemic has once again proved that no country can stand alone in the face of global challenge. China supports and stands ready to strengthen the global governance system with the United Nations as its core. The 74th United Nations General Assembly has adopted such resolution that calls on the international community to enhance cooperation and jointly overcome the outbreak.

China has actively promoted "the Belt and Road Initiative" and advocated to jointly build "the Silk Road of Health". China has supported the World Health Organization to play a leading role in this regards and actively mobilize the international community to strengthen policy coordination as well as increase their input of resources, especially in the light of helping developing countries with vulnerable public health system to prepare for epidemic prevention and response. China donated 20 million USD to the WHO in March and additional 30 million USD in April for the prevention and control of COVID-19, focusing on strengthening developing countries' ability to prepare and respond to the outbreak.

China has proposed to make full use of G20's function in communication and coordination and promoted China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Special Meeting on COVID-19, the Fifth Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Mekong-Lancang Cooperation and the China-Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' Special Video Conference. An international joint response mechanism should become the crucial goal for building a community of health for mankind.

Saving lives and safeguarding health are of paramount importance. Out of respect for life, treating every single patient with love and care, have created "the miracle of life" one after another. On April 24, the last critical case of COVID-19 in Wuhan was cured. Wuhan, once the epicenter and frontline of China's COVID-19 prevention and control, has witnessed the struggle of the Chinese people through the most difficult time when more than 13,000 newly confirmed cases reported in one day at the peak of the epidemic, to zero new confirmed case reported, and eventually all severe and critically ill patients cured. This marks the decisive victory in the battle of Hubei Province and Wuhan City.

Always keeping a sober mind and clear understanding of the situation, China is fully prepared to deal with changes in the external environment for quite a long time given the continued spread of COVID-19 globally and will continue to work with other countries in the world to overcome difficulties and jointly protect the health and well-being of mankind.

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