Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Estonia Talking about China's fight against COVID-19

Recently, the Estonian media has kept paying attention to the COVID-19 epidemic and reprinted or written a lot of reports related to China, some of which are false information. However, this does nothing good to the international cooperation against the epidemic. To correct the untrue message, the spokesperson of the embassy is willing to explain the situation of China's fight against the epidemic as follows:

Ⅰ. Is Chinese government's response to COVID-19 not timely and transparent? Does Chinese government conceal the truth and data?

The timeline of China's response is very clear. It could be found from different media reports. On December 27, 2019, Zhang Jixian, Director of the Department of Respiratory and Critical Care at Hubei Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, reported the first three suspected cases. On December 29, related centers for disease control and prevention and hospitals in Hubei and Wuhan carried out epidemiological investigation. On December 30 Wuhan Municipal Health Committee issued an "urgent notice on the treatment of pneumonia of unknown cause". On December 31, the National Health Commission sent an expert group to Wuhan to investigate on site. On January 3, 2020, China started to send timely updates to WHO and other countries. On January 8, the pathogen was preliminarily identified. On January 11, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention uploaded five whole genome sequences of the novel coronavirus on website and shared data with the world and WHO. On January 23, Wuhan was put under lockdown and unprecedented comprehensive, thorough and rigorous measures were adopted.

It takes time for people to understand and respond to a new type of virus. Only after careful and serious scientific investigations can we formulate scientific and effective prevention and control measures. With the concept of a community of shared future for mankind, China has informed the WHO and shared the genome sequencing with countries around the world as soon as possible. China also has promoted the international cooperation between experts on epidemic prevention and control timely and actively provided assistance within its capacity to other countries. China's response has bought precious time for the global fight against the epidemic. This has been recognized by the WHO and international community which is an undeniable fact.

Ⅱ. Does COVID-19 originate in Wuhan?

China was the first country to report the novel coronavirus outbreak to the WHO, but that does not mean that the virus originated in Wuhan. Lots of facts indicate that the source of COVID-19 has not been confirmed and the source is directed to different regions. An epidemic can originate in any city, country or region in the world. The origin of the novel coronavirus is a serious scientific issue that should be addressed by scientists and medical experts. WHO and the international community clearly oppose the association of viruses with specific countries and regions, and oppose stigmatization. Recently the science journal Nature published an editorial entitled "Stop the Coronavirus Stigma Now ".

Wherever the origin of the virus may be, China and all other affected countries are victims faced with the challenge in containing its spread. Viruses know no borders, no races, and no social systems. All countries should always put their people's rights of life and health first and provide adequate and effective protection. Slanders and accusations on others won't make oneself immune from the virus. We believe that the source of the virus can be traced due to the wisdom of scientists and medical experts. The fact will come to light one day.

Ⅲ. What has China done to help the world's fight against COVID-19?

Since the outbreak, China has taken the most comprehensive, thorough and rigorous measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country, which has not only protected the lives and health of its people but also won precious time for the world's fight against the virus. At present, the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading across the globe. China has actively shared epidemic information and anti-epidemic experience with WHO and other countries, enhanced international cooperation to speed up the research of antiviral medicine and vaccines and donated 20 million US dollars to WHO. China has hosted expert video conferences with more than 150 countries and international organizations including Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), EU, African Union (AU), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In line with related requests, China has also provided assistance to around 130 countries and 4 international organizations to the best of its capability. In addition, Chinese local governments, enterprises and civil society organizations have donated medical supplies to more than 100 countries and regions and international organizations. In the future, China will continue to provide assistance to countries in need.

China has been following closely with the situation of COVID-19 in Estonia and attaches great importance to bilateral relations and cooperation in fighting against the virus. On March 17, the State Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs of PRC Mr. Wang Yi sent a letter to Mr. Urmas Reinsalu, Foreign Minister of Republic of Estonia, to extend his sincere sympathy to those in Estonia who have unfortunately contracted COVID-19 and wished them speedy recovery. Mr. Wang Yi stressed that the Chinese Government and People firmly supported the efforts of the Estonian side in fighting against the epidemic and were ready to cooperate and make contribution. The Chinese Embassy in Estonia has maintained close contacts at all levels with and provided assistance to Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Finance and other relevant authorities. On March 13, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC, together with the National Health Commission, the General Administration of Customs, the Civil Aviation Administration and Beijing Municipal Government, hosted a video conference on the prevention and control of COVID-19 and shared China's experiences and measures on fight against the epidemic with the 17 CEE Countries. Officials and experts from the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Board participated in the conference.

In spite of the shortage of medical equipment, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, General Administration of Customs and other authorities have actively coordinated with each other in order to meet Estonia's requirement on procurement of medical equipment from China, prioritized the medical supply for Estonia and facilitated the clearance and inspection process. These batches of supplies have been arriving at Estonia in succession. At the same time, the Chinese Embassy in Estonia is also supporting Estonia's fight against COVID-19 in various ways.

Since the outbreak, we have seen that the Estonia has taken active and effective prevention and control measures. The Estonian people comply with the measures and help to mitigate the pressure of virus spread. Estonia has advanced medical technology and complete epidemic prevention system. We believe that the epidemic situation here can be effectively brought under control. China is willing and ready to continue to maintain close contact and strengthen cooperation with Estonia so as to overcome the difficulty together.

Ⅳ. What is the most important thing to do in the fight against COVID-19?

Virus is the common enemy of mankind. The international community should work hand in hand to fight it. We hope all parties of the international community can take concrete actions to uphold multilateralism, strengthen and improve the global governance system with the UN as the core, support WHO's leading role in global anti-pandemic cooperation, support the G20's role in communication and coordination, strengthen anti-pandemic assistance and cooperation and jointly build a community of health for all. In this critical period, we hope that all those will take off their colored glasses and stop the unjustified accusations and stigmatization to China. Only by working together and playing a constructive role, can everyone overcome the epidemic at an early date and jointly safeguard the global public health security.

The current epidemic situation has made us more aware of the importance of strengthening unity and promoting cooperation. In the future of post-epidemic time, more efforts should be made to uphold an open world economy, facilitate normal economic activities and trade, foster a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable environment for trade and investment and ensure the steady and easy operation of global industrial and supply chains.

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