In an official statement on June 7, 2020, China is calling on the world to acknowledge, whether tacitly or openly, the fact that an effective deterrent against the onslaught of Covid-19 pandemic is to go beyond the ‘mask’ diplomacy to international solidarity – collective response that is as potent as a nitrogen bomb is in the hands of an insensible person.
With the world now wearing masks following a rash of the novel coronavirus, it is a wake-up call to the global political class to swing fully from blame-game to unity, solidarity and collaborativeness to bring the pandemic under control.
Issues around the pandemic, admittedly, if not carefully approached, are capable of perpetuating the carnage across the globe.
In the face of the common enemy, settling on accusations and counter accusations, imputing blame on this or that country for not being transparent in reporting the deadly disease leading to huge human casualties with a spill-over effect of growing economic crisis across the world, cripples the once fruitful bilateral and multilateral bonds between countries.
Putting aside the backlash from the US and other countries on China, forging clear and transparent partnerships between countries has tremendous potentials for the good of each and all.
Therefore, occupants of the corridors of power may rightly want to admit a cool-headed approach in the face of the on-going global carnage and political wrangling surrounding Covid-19. Such an approach, if those in power must give its people health and economy, can be purposed towards seeking to promote the coordination of comprehensive experience exchange and sharing, bring their scientific expertise together, boost medical teams of hotspot countries also with the goal that such should be able to pave the streets towards curative and preventive packages for a world that is groaning in dire need of a health solution.
A Global Impact
The Covid-19 epidemic, as a major public health emergency, has spread faster and wider than any other since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and has proven to be the most difficult to contain. The Chinese government released the information about the disease in a white paper on June 7, 2020 “To keep a record of China’s efforts in its own fight against the virus, to share its experience with the rest of the world, and to clarify its ideas on the global battle.”
According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the coronavirus has infected over 6,800,000 people and killed nearly 400,000 across the world. The US is the worst affected country with over 1.9 million cases and more than 109,000 deaths, while the total number of cases in China stands at 84,177.
The disease has infected 11,610 people in Cameroon, killed 301 by June 20, 2020. Over 7,700 have recovered.
The contagion has also battered the world economy with the IMF saying that the global economy, which was in a sluggish recovery even before the coronavirus outbreak, is now bound to suffer a “severe recession” in 2020. The World Bank has also called for countries to step up efforts to fight the disease and improve the economy.
China Issues Details About the Virus
China has, however, issued its official statement on the country’s fight against Covid-19. The white paper, titled “Fighting COVID-19: China in Action,” was issued by the State Council Information Office. It outlines China’s detailed steps and measures in battling the disease and how she won the arduous fight in Hubei’s capital city Wuhan, where the virus, initially said to be “pneumonia of unknown cause” were identified, described later as “viral pneumonia” after an analysis of the patients’ condition and clinical outcome, the findings of epidemiological investigations, and preliminary laboratory testing results.
Besides the foreword and afterword, the white paper consists of four parts: “China’s Fight against the Epidemic: A Test of Fire,” “Well-Coordinated Prevention, Control and Treatment,” “Assembling a Powerful Force to Beat the Virus,” and “Building a Global Community of Health for All.”
China, however, has maintained that the international community must forge unity, and that is an offensive efficacious against the pandemic. “Solidarity means strength,” the white paper said, stressing that “China firmly believes that as long as all countries unite and cooperate to mount a collective response, the international community will succeed in overcoming the pandemic, and will emerge from this dark moment in human history into a brighter future.”
The statement states that China has sent a total of 29 medical expert teams to 27 countries and offered help to 150 nations and four international organisations.
Emergency Relief Aid to Cameroon President Xi Jinping in his speech at an Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid-19 with African leaders and experts he presided over via video link in Beijing on June 17, 2020, assured African countries that China will continue supporting Covid-19 containment measures on the African continent.
He said the mutual support of China and African countries in the anti-epidemic fight is a vivid illustration of a China-Africa community with a shared future.
During the summit in which he called for solidarity and cooperation to defeat the novel coronavirus pandemic, Xi unveiled an array of measures to help Africa cope with the public health crisis, including providing technical and material support and debt relief for African countries. Xi’s spirit of largesse clearly reflects in Cameroon-China cooperation of late.
Both countries have embraced a change with the spread of the new coronavirus which has imposed the need that countries had to adapt their projects, maintain essential lifesaving activities and set up new interventions. This is seen in the fact that China is increasing hospital capacity to manage and care for patients affected by the new virus, including reinforcing infection prevention and control measures.
These include the recent handing over of China’s donation of protective gadgets to the Cameroon Armed Forces by the Chinese Ambassador in Yaounde, Wang Yingwu. It followed the country’s earlier contribution of material for infection prevention and control. One of the major initial supplies of logistics came from businessman Jack Ma, whose foundation teamed up with Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the AU to distribute logistics across the continent. The media in Cameroon have reported the arrival of containers from China, packed with masks, ventilators, and protective suits.
China is Cameroon’s partner since 1971 and is now also strengthening its influence through sharing information and best practices on the fight against Covid-19, as well as their experience acquired in prevention and control. During a recent video conference, Chinese doctors and medical experts and officials in China drilled Cameroonian experts from the National Center for Emergency Health Operations and their counterparts from 23 other African countries on various ways to fight the Covid-19. The knowledge-sharing event was timely as it came at a time when experts at the Cameroon’s Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation got to work to study the evolution of the virus in Cameroon and how they could seek possible solutions. At the end of the conference, the participants expressed their gratitude to China for the strong solidarity and support for Cameroon in various ways, which reflect the fraternal friendship between the two countries.
Furthermore, through its leader, China has pledged to contribute 30 million test kits per month, as well as 10,000 ventilators and 80 million masks to Africa, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is the chairperson of the African Union, disclosed during a virtual meeting with top editors in his country on May 31, 2020.
Being the first major victim, the struggle to overcome the spread of the Covid-19, called the ‘People’s War’ in China, by China was not an easy job. Facing this “unknown, unexpected, devastating” disease, China launched a resolute battle to prevent and control its spread, said the white paper. China has for now succeeded in cutting all channels for the transmission of the virus, the white paper said but noted that the virus is still wreaking havoc throughout the world.
While waiting that countries of the world may learn to build bridges, hopes are tilted to the God of heavens and scientific efforts. In a world battered by the novel virus, people ought to draw positive lessons from the success story so far recorded in China. Cameroon and most African countries, especially those located in the Congo Basin ought to draw this inspiration and develop their own comprehensive containment measures far beyond restrictions on outbound and inbound movement, to encouraging its own expertise. For example, the city of Wuhan re-purposed stadiums and exhibition centers into 16 temporary treatment centers, or Fangcang shelter hospitals, providing some 14,000 beds and making it possible to admit all confirmed mild cases for treatment. This innovative approach helped reduce infections and virus transmission in communities and prevent mild cases from worsening.
Other highlights of the white paper included that China boasted a cure rate of 94.3 percent as its death toll stood at 4,634 out of a total of 83,017 confirmed patients, as of the end of May.
Patients were given free treatment, which cost the Chinese government some $190 million for its nearly 59,000 inpatients, while traditional Chinese medicine was found effective in treating 92 percent of Covid-19 patients.
The Chinese leadership ordered measures like the quarantine of Wuhan where the town was put in total lockdown to reduce the spread of the virus and basic essentials and medical supplies kept coming in. The medical team was boosted, advanced medical facilities built.
Added to the quarantine, people’s solidarity with the government was enhanced, transparency of information on effective anti-epidemic measures was made available, as people were updated every day on the dynamics of the pandemic and the government’s efforts to resolve the crisis. Medical supplies were boosted, healthcare staff fighting on the frontline; officials and volunteers providing logistics support; and the common people protecting each other from being infected. With a lot more efforts put in place, China won the major campaign in the war against Covid-19. According to the Director General of the WHO: “China’s speed, China’s scale and China’s efficiency … is the advantage of China’s system.”
According to the State Council Information Office of China, having forged the idea that the world is a global community of shared future, and believing that it must act as a responsible member, China has fought shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world. It is now time for others to also begin to share their experience.
Mimi Mefo Info