Nigerian leading newspapers Thisday, Leadership, New Telegraph,Guardian, Sun, Peoples Daily, The Nation and Pilot published anarticle written by Ambassador of China to Nigeria Dr. Zhou Pingjian. The full text goes as follows:
NCP: Time for Facts, Science and Solidarity
China is currently fighting an all-out people's war against the novel coronavirus pneumonia(NCP) outbreak. The virus is unprecedented, so are the measures China has taken.
The safety and health of the people always comes first, and thus the prevention and controlof the outbreak is the country's top priority for now. The Standing Committee of the PoliticalBureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has convened two meetingsfor redeployment and remobilization on January 25 and February 3 respectively. President XiJinping has made it very clear that the CPC Central Committee always places people's life, security and health above anything else. The Central Leading Group on responding to theoutbreak has convened five meetings on epidemic control efforts. The group has traveled toWuhan, the epicenter of the NCP outbreak, to direct the efforts on the ground. The StateCouncil's inter-agency prevention and control task force has redoubled its efforts to makesure that all urgent issues are resolved in a most timely manner.
On February 8, the 1500-bed Leishenshan Hospital was put into use. Earlier, the 1000-bedHuoshenshan Hospital went into full operation on February 3. Both of the makeshift hospitalswere built in less than 10 days. More than 11000 doctors and nurses across the country arrivedin Wuhan within a few days and are now fighting on the epicenter of the epidemic day andnight. We are racing against time to save lives.
Our efforts are producing results. Since February 1, cured NCP cases began to outnumberdeaths. As of 24:00 p.m. February 8, a total of 2649 persons had been discharged from hospitalafter recovery, unfortunately 811 persons had died of the disease. Since February 3, newlyreported confirmed cases are declining day by day outside Hubei, the province with Wuhanas its capital, from 890 cases that day to 731 cases (February 4), 707 cases (February 5), 696 cases (February 6), 558 cases (February 7), 509 cases (February 8). The figures above areimportant signs that the epidemic is preventable, controllable and curable.
As President Xi assures the world, being good at mobilizing resources and equipped with richexperience in handling public health emergencies, China has the confidence and capability towin the battle. The robust measures are taken not only for the health of China's own people butalso as a great contribution to global public safety.
Acting with openness, transparency and a high sense of responsibility, the Chinesegovernment has been sharing information in a timely manner, enhancing internationalcooperation, putting in place a nation-wide scheme, pooling national resources and taking themost strict and thorough measures to fight the outbreak. The National Health Commissionand the Wuhan health authorities hold daily briefings to keep the public updated. China'sopenness, transparency and high sense of responsibility, and its decisive and effectivemeasures have been recognized by the international community. Dr. Tedros AdhanomGhebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), affirms on manyoccasions that China has in fact taken more measures to contain the outbreak that it isrequired to do in case of an emergency, and China is setting a new standard for outbreakresponse for other countries.
Regrettably, we have noted some rumors and lies on the NCP epidemic. Virus is horrible. What's more horrible is rumors and panic. As WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros has repeatedlycalled on people not to believe in rumors or spread them, "This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumors. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma." In somecountries including Nigeria, relevant departments have been stepping up efforts to bring tojustice those creating and spreading rumors about the epidemic. On February 1, five Abujaresidents who had faked coronavirus infection were swiftly arrested by the FCT police fortheir gratuitous prank.
Every life is precious. One NCP case is too many. However, we still need to put things inperspective and have an objective and accurate analysis of the situation. All the responsesto the epidemic should be based on science instead of fear.
I wish to stress that, as of February 8, the mortality rate of the NCP is 2.18% (811 deaths outof 37198 confirmed cases), and the mortality rate in Chinese provinces and cities other thanWuhan is merely 0.91% (203 deaths out of 22210 confirmed cases), even lower than that ofordinary pneumonia. The mortality rate outside Hubei is 0.31% (31 deaths out of 10098 confirmed cases). In contrast, the H1N1 flu of 2009 in the US had a mortality rate of17.4%, the mortality rate of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) of 2012 was34.4% and Ebola of 2014 in West Africa 40.4%. In fact, according to a recent CDC report, theUS flu from 2019 to 2020 has caused 19 million infection cases and at least 10,000 deaths. There are 200 or so NCP cases of infections worldwide, far less than 1% of the case count inChina, while the H1N1 outbreak in the US spread to 214 regions and countries.
It is understandable that some countries have taken necessary and appropriate preventionmeasures. But we disapprove of measures out of proportion. As WHO insists, there is nopandemic yet and there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere withinternational travel and trade. WHO doesn't recommend and actually oppose limiting tradeand movement.
After the epidemic outbreak, the Chinese government attaches high importance to the life andhealth of all people in China, Chinese and foreign nationals alike. We have taken the mostcomprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures against the NCP, many ofwhich have far exceeded what WHO and International Health Regulations required. Currently, the security, health and living standards of foreign nationals in China is guaranteed. We hopeall countries can assess the epidemic situation and China's efforts in a calm, objective andrational manner and do not overreact. Foreign nationals are safe in China.
According to the professional evaluation of WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros, the safest wayfor foreign nationals in Wuhan is to stay put and ensure effective self-protection. He hascautioned against hasty movement as it will add more uncertainties. Now confirmed caseshave been detected among some foreign evacuees, which increase the risk of further spread. This is what has happened. We still suggest that countries to follow WHO recommendations andeducate their nationals to ensure sound protection in accordance with local health regulations. The majority of the countries including Nigeria understand the opinion of the Chinesegovernment. They have full confidence in and support China's control efforts.
February 10 this year marks the 49th anniversary of China-Nigeria diplomatic relations. Since1971, the all-dimensional, wide-ranging and high-quality bilateral cooperation has been apacesetter in China-Africa cooperation. Particularly in recent years, under the strategicguidance and personal attention of President Xi and President Buhari, the brotherlyrelationship between China and Nigeria has reached new heights unmatched in history, bringingtangible benefits to our two countries and peoples. China always appreciates Nigeria'sinvaluable support wherever China's interest is concerned.
A friend in need is a friend indeed. Recently, the Embassy has been inundated withheartwarming sympathies and good wishes from Nigerian brothers and sisters. We highlyappreciate that the government and good people of Nigeria firmly stand by us in this difficulttime. As President Muhammadu Buhari noted in his statement of solidarity on February 2, "China's efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus have been exemplary, as well as thecountry's collaboration with international agencies and other countries on the matter", "Withall the efforts being put in, we know that it is only a matter of time before this nightmarepasses." Together, we shall prevail.
The NCP epidemic comes and will go. The outbreak is just temporary, but friendship andcooperation are forever. China will always remember the sympathy and support given to usin this battle against the virus.