5 April 2020, Kathmandu
Chinese ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi jointly interviewed by Nepali media on Novel Coronavirus Epidemic on Sunday. In regard to this, the Chinese embassy earlier has informed to the mainstream media among others to sent questions related to China’s effort to combat with COVID-19 and Nepal China cooperation on joint prevention and control of the virus.
Due to the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19, Ambassador Yanqi took joint written interview of Nepali media on Novel Coronavirus Epidemic. Here is the list of questions including the answers presented as:
1. Q: Would you please introduce the latest developments on the COVID-19 in China and China’s participation in international cooperation to fight the pandemic? Some people recently said that China is using its assistance to other countries as “political propaganda” and even claimed that China should use those assistance to make up for its mistake, what’s your opinion about those statements?
Under the command and guidance of President Xi Jinping, with the arduous efforts and great sacrifices made by the Chinese government and people, the situation of the epidemic in China have turned into a steady and positive direction. More than 76,000 patients have now recovered. Although there are still some sporadic cases, the spread of the epidemic in the country has been generally contained. At the same time, the epidemic is spreading rapidly around the world, we are facing severe challenges of preventing imported COVID-19 cases. As of 24:00 on April 4, The Chinese mainland had reported 913 cases of imported confirmed infections.
The international community, including Nepal, gave us valuable support and assistance during the most difficult period of China’s fight against COVID-19. The Chinese nation is grateful and always reciprocates other’s kindness. China’s fight against COVID-19 isn’t over yet. We are under heavy pressure to guard against imported cases and a rebound in indigenous cases, and so there is a huge demand for medical supplies. However, the Chinese government has managed to provided surgical and N95 masks, personal protective equipment(PPE)s, nucleic acid test kits and other assistance to more than 120 countries and a number of international organizations. Besides, We provided assistance to many countries in their commercial procurement in China, and shared our prevention and control experience with the world including remote video conference.
Human being are living in one global village and a community with a shared future. Since the epidemic broke out, China has always been open, transparent and responsible in all its efforts. We informed WHO and the international community in a timely manner, took the strongest prevention and control measures, and made great sacrifices and contributions to containment of the epidemic. The Journal Science published a paper by researchers in the United States, the UK and other countries saying that China’s control measures worked by successfully breaking the chain of transmission and bought other countries valuable time. China will never take a policy of “China First”. All assistance from China are not with any political strings but an important contribution to global public health security from a responsible major country. The international community will give us credit for that.
It should be emphasized that certain individuals and forces driven by ulterior motives are trying them best to slander others or shift the blame. It is obvious that what they have done could never contain the spread of the epidemic and will only lead to more lives lost. We hope all countries can put the safety of people’s lives and health at the top priority, focus on fighting the epidemic, and work hand in hand to win the battle.
2. Q: In order to contain the epidemic, the Nepali government has taken such measures as nationwide lock-down and suspending international flights. What is your comment on that?
A:Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the Nepali government has established a high-level coordination committee led by Hon. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Ishwor Pokharel and taken a series of measures including providing timely information on the epidemic, continuously improving the laboratory testing capacity, establishing the nationwide network of designated hospitals, tracing the related persons to the confirmed patients and asking them to take self-isolation. The nationwide lock-down and suspension of international commercial flights have minimized the personnel movement of people at home and from abroad. The Nepali government has also made full efforts to ensure the supply of essential necessities and provide relief packages to families in need.
We noticed that these measures have played a vitally important role in containing the epidemic. The Nepali people are following the government orders and keeping good personal hygienic habit to protect themselves. The Nepali police is fulfilling its duty and enforcing the management and control in a strict way during the lock-down. People from all walks of life in Nepal actively donated fund and supplies to support the government in fighting the epidemic.
We understand and support that the Nepali government is taking measures based on its own national conditions to contain the epidemic and protect its people’s lives. Meanwhile, a number of Chinese people are stuck in Nepal during this time. We are working together with the relevant government departments to ensure their safety and welfare.
3. Q: What assistance has China provided to the Nepali side in fighting the epidemic？What other cooperation will be carried out?
A:During the most difficult time for China to fight the epidemic, the whole Nepal has given valuable support to the Chinese side which the Chinese people will never forget. When the epidemic is spreading to Nepal, China is also doing its utmost to provide help to Nepal. Our Embassy immediately formed a joint working group with the relevant ministries of Nepal, shared information and experience on epidemic prevention and control, clinical treatment, customs quarantine, etc through providing documents and video connections. The Chinese Central Government will provide material assistance to Nepal and both sides is in communication on it. Meanwhile, some local governments and civil societies in China have taken actions to actively raise materials most-needed by Nepal. Early in the morning of March 29th , the first batch of donated supplies has arrived Nepal successfully, which are from local governments and NGOs. As far as I know, Xizang Autonomous Region, Yunnan Province and some Chinese enterprises have also expressed their intention to donate medical equipments to Nepal. The most difficult point at present is transportation The Chinese Embassy will continue to strengthen communication and coordination with all parties to ensure smoothness of customs clearance and transportation.Later, based on the epidemic situation and the needs of the Nepali side, we will continue to adopt expert video connections and other means to strengthen experience and technical exchanges and carry out joint prevention and control measures.
4. Q: Did the Nepali Government purchase all the anti-epidemic medical materials in China through channels recommended by the Chinese government? Do all the materials exported by China meet the standards?
A:According to the relevant procedure, if any countries raised purchasing demands via diplomatic channel, the Embassy would report back to the headquarter and provide the list of qualified providers. On April 2, the Nepali side has raised commercial demand to the Chinese Government through the Nepali Embassy in Beijing. Ministry of Commerce of the PRC is coordinating and working on that.
It is quite normal that there are different standards of medical materials in different countries in the world. China attaches high importance to export quality control. Materials that do not meet the standards are not allowed to be exported. Relevant departments have just rolled out more rigorous regulative measures. Export companies of medical supplies need to state in written or digital format upon customs clearance that their products have valid registration certificate for medical devices and products and meet the quality standards of their destinations. If any problem on standards occur in this process, it should be properly solved based on facts. It is irresponsible for the few western media to hype up the so-called quality issue of Chinese products before getting their facts straight, or even politicize the relevant issues, which is not conducive to international cooperation in fighting the pandemic.
5.Q: All the countries in in South Asia are facing the challenge of the epidemic. Member countries of SAARC has held a video conference to jointly fight against the corona virus. In which aspects that China can cooperate with SAARC?
A: There are now cases of COVID-19 in all the countries in South Asia, with a total of more than 7,000 cases. China is a neighboring country of mutual assistance and solidarity to South Asia, and the observer of SAARC. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China has continued to uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and stayed in close cooperation and shared information on prevention and control with the SAARC countries. We have provided assistance to the most of the South Asian countries to the best of our ability. On March 20, China held an online video conference with 19 Eurasian and South Asian countries. Chinese health experts and custom officials briefed on the experience and practices on development trend of epidemic, prevention and control, clinical diagnosis and treatment, equipment support and port inspection and quarantine. They answered more than 80 questions raised by the attendees. Those participants from SAARC countries said this video conference was very timely and provided professional and accurate information.
The COVID-19 outbreak is now spreading rapidly worldwide. South Asia, with its large population, is under great pressure and all the countries in the region have adopted strict prevention and control measures. China will continue to make full use of various resources and channels to stay in close cooperation with all member countries and secretariat of SAARC. We could jointly build a network of control and treatment at the regional level to enable quicker response to public health emergencies and safeguard regional public health security.