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Tanzanian Commentator: Fighting Covid-19 Through Solidarity and Cooperation
2020/06/16

On 13 June, Tanzanian mainstream media Daily News published a commentary written by Mr George Muntu, a Tanzanian current affairs commentator. Titled “Fighting Covid-19 Through Solidarity and Cooperation”, the article expounds on the main contents and significance of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s statement at the virtual event of opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly. The writer reckons that China has shown how a responsible major country should act in the front of global public health crisis by bringing the Covid-19 pandemic under control at home, and actively engaging in global anti-pandemic cooperation. The full text of the article is as follows:

In his speech at the virtual event of opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly held on 18th May 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping encouraged the international community to unite and cooperate in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. President Xi elaborated on China’s proposals for the global fight against Covid-19 and put forward a series of important measures. The speech aims at boosting global confidence in the fight against the pandemic, promoting international anti-Covid-19 cooperation, and planning for the future global health governance system.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, China has been in the forefront in fighting the disease and helping other countries cope with the most serious global public health emergency since the end of the Second World War. As President Xi said in his speech, after making painstaking efforts and enormous sacrifice, China has turned the tide on the virus and protected the life and health of its people. Currently, the daily increase in domestic coronavirus cases in China is in single digits, which is a significant achievement compared with other countries, including the developed ones. For instance, in the United States, the current daily increase in domestic cases is close to 20,000 and the number of daily new deaths is around 500.

As of May 31, China had provided material assistance to 150 countries and 4 international organizations and had sent 29 medical experts to 27 countries to help them combat the Covid-19 pandemic. China has conducted more than 70 exchanges with other countries and international and regional organizations, including the African Union (AU). These are clear evidence showing that China is committed to assist other countries, especially the developing ones, and to share its experience and best practices in fighting the coronavirus.

Unlike some developed countries, China has not only strived to protect the life and health of its own people, but also contributed to the improvement of public health systems in poor countries. This is proven by its willingness to send its doctors and medical equipment to other countries, especially those in Africa and the AU as well.

It should be remembered that when Italy and Spain were hit hard by the coronavirus, it is China, not any EU or NATO member country, that provided the badly needed medical equipment and sent its own medical experts to offer on-the-spot guidance. Why is that?

Because in China’s view, solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon for defeating the virus, and in the face of the global public health crises, countries in the world must transcend the East-West divergence and the North-South divide to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

President Xi called on all countries in the world to put the people first in his speech, saying that nothing is more precious than people’s lives. He proposed deployment of medical expertise and critical supplies to places where they are needed the most, having sense of urgency in curbing the global spread of the virus, and a comprehensive review of the global response to Covid-19 after it is brought under control to sum up experience and address deficiencies.

In fact, China has set a good example in practicing the people-first concept. We have seen the Chinese government taking urgent measures, including lockdown of the epicentre, to contain the epidemic, building hospitals and sending doctors from all over the country to Hubei province, particularly Wuhan city, to treat tens of thousands of patients there. The Chinese government has borne the enormous expense of treating all Covid-19 patients, which is in hundreds of millions of UD dollars.

To assure the world that China is committed and is ready to work with the international community to fight coronavirus, President Xi announced five major measures to further support the global cooperation in epidemic control. China will provide US$2 billion over two years to help with Covid-19 response and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing ones; China will establish a cooperation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals and accelerate the building of the Africa CDC headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity; China will also work with other G20 members to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries.

According to a white paper recently released by the Chinese government on China’s actions in fighting Covid-19, the country has so far announced the suspension of debt repayments from 77 developing countries, and it will offer more assistance to African nations.

Furthermore, President Xi announced that Covid-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good. It is extraordinary to make such a commitment, considering the huge cost in vaccine development and the magnitude of the profits that could be generated from safe and effective vaccines.

With the above-said proposals and measures, China has once again shown how a major responsible country should act in the face of global challenges. We, Africans, must know that China is standing and will always stand shoulder to shoulder with us.

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