Viruses don’t respect borders. Come together - Hindustan Times

Viruses don’t respect borders. Come together

BySun Weidong
Apr 30, 2020 07:28 PM IST

China is willing to work with India to win this battle, and safeguard global and regional public health security

Global efforts to fight the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) have come to a critical point. Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons against the disease. The ferocity of this highly infectious, fast-spreading pandemic has rarely been seen in the past. Facing this unprecedented challenge, no country has the perfect solution. Countries are striving to explore the most effective measures based on their national situations. What is needed most in this process is mutual respect, understanding and cooperation.

China and India have maintained communication and cooperated on epidemic prevention and control(ANI)
China and India have maintained communication and cooperated on epidemic prevention and control(ANI)

China was the first to report the outbreak and stand up to this challenge. We established a centralised and efficient command system, undertook comprehensive and thorough control and lockdown measures, and tried our best to prevent the epidemic from spreading. Medical and community workers, volunteers and others made great sacrifices in the fight against the epidemic. China has been releasing information and sharing the viral genome sequences. Since the outbreak, we have updated information daily and held nearly 200 press conferences to disseminate information about the government’s efforts.

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Meanwhile, China offered proposals for global cooperation to overcome the challenge. At the extraordinary G20 leaders’ summit on Covid-19, President Xi Jinping set out four proposals for a global war against the virus, forging a collective response for control and treatment, supporting international organisations in playing active roles, and strengthening macroeconomic policy coordination.

China has provided support to the international community, working closely with the United Nations, the World Health Organization and other organisations. We have had 83 medical experts on video conferences with 153 countries, and sent 14 medical teams to 12 countries that were facing a difficult situation. We have also provided over 140 countries and international organisations with medical supplies, and signed commercial procurement contracts with more than 60 countries and organisations. What we have done is based on the belief of building a community with a shared future for humankind in keeping with China’s tradition of reciprocation.

China and India have maintained communication and cooperation on epidemic prevention and control. Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a letter of condolence to President Xi. The leaders attended the G20 summit on Covid-19. State councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi had conversations with external affairs minister S Jaishankar twice, exchanging views on anti-epidemic cooperation.

This reminds me of the touching stories of Dr DS Kotnis, who went to China to support the war of resistance against Japanese aggression and died there. This year marks the 110th birth anniversary of Dr Kotnis. We must carry forward his spirit of internationalism and cooperate in fighting the epidemic. At a critical moment in China’s battle against the pandemic, the Indian government provided medical supplies to China. Indians have shown their support in various ways.

Since the outbreak in India, China shared its experiences in epidemic prevention, control and treatment with India through video conferences. As sister provinces and cities, Guangdong Province and Chongqing city have, respectively, donated medical materials to Gujarat and Chennai. Alibaba, Fosun and other Chinese enterprises and charities have assisted India with medical supplies such as protective masks, suits, medical gloves and ventilators. China has provided India with assistance for its commercial procurement in China. The civil aviation administration of China has opened a “green channel” and approved 35 new Indian cargo flights to deliver medical supplies.

Viruses respect no borders, and epidemics do not distinguish between races. Only by working together can we win this battle. Finger-pointing or scapegoating is not the way. Such moves will divide the international community, lead to prejudice against specific ethnic groups and hurt the shared interests of the world. We must reject all ideological biases and attempts at labelling the virus, politicising the response, and stigmatising any specific country.

India is fighting the pandemic under the leadership of PM Modi. The Indian government has taken a series of decisive and strict prevention and control measures which have delivered positive outcomes. India’s victory in this is of great significance to the global fight against Covid-19.

As a friend, neighbour and partner, we sincerely wish India success. China and India are ancient civilisations with populations accounting for nearly 40% of the world. China is willing to work together with India to win this battle, safeguard global and regional public health security, and contribute to greater care for our common homeland.

Sun Weidong is the Chinese Ambassador to India
The views expressed are personal
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