Kathmandu,May 22, 2020 : Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi , says that the Covid 19 Pandemic has become a global challenge. It can only be successfully controlled by the joint efforts of both the Government of Nepal and the Nepalese People.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News Television, Ambassador Yanqi has said that China is ready to provide necessary health assistance to Nepal and South Asian countries to control the pandemic against covid 19. Ambassador Yanqi has praised Nepal for its efforts to prevent the spread of the epidemic by closing the international borders.
She adds, in the coming days, special precaution should be implemented in Kathmandu and states that special preventive measures should be taken immediately, in the southernmost part of the country where the infection has been spreading rapidly.
Responding to the Question –
ABC TV- Your Excellency, China has won the battle against COVID-19 by adopting the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures. Would you please explain the modalities as well as prevention measures adopted by the Chinese government to defeat the pandemic situation?
Yanqi– Under the command and guidance of President Xi Jinping, we concentrated superior resources and mobilized all the governmental organizations and party members to join in the battle. We implemented strict nationwide control measures, pooled together medical resources and extended adequate financial support to fight against COVID-19. For example, more than 330 medical teams consisting of some 41,600 medical personnel were dispatched to Hubei from different places across the country. The Huoshenshan and Leishenshan hospitals were swiftly built and started operation in Wuhan within two weeks. Governments at all levels have allocated more than 100 billion yuan to fight against the pandemic.
We also did our best to treat cases and raise people’s awareness of fending off the virus, accelerate scientific research and deepen international cooperation in the spirit of a community of shared future for mankind. Up till now, 78,249 patients have been cured. During the entire process, we insisted on working in an open, transparent manner and timely clarified the rumors.
Also, I would like to say, the battle against COVID-19 has not finished yet even though the spread of the pandemic in China has been generally contained. We are still facing severe challenges of preventing imported cases. Today, we will continue to adopt strict measures to curb imported cases.
ABC TV- Nepal now entered into the second stage of pandemic spread. And you know our public health system is poor in comparison to China. In this response, what are the best things that Nepal can learn from China’s experience on pandemic control?
Yanqi- I am not an expert on pandemic control but I am willing to share some experience in China’s fight against the pandemic:
Firstly, improving virus testing, isolation and tracing. It should be strict in implementing the policies of “early detection, early reporting, early isolation and early treatment”, “immediate trace on close contacts” and “testing all who need to be tested, hospitalization of all who need to be hospitalized, isolating and treating all who need to be isolated and treated”.
Secondly, differentiate risk levels. Based on pandemic situation, to declare different risk levels on different areas, from low to medium to high, and implemented differentiated and region-specific measures of prevention and control to manage the movement of people.
Thirdly, ensuring material supply. Medical supplies and daily necessities should be guaranteed. Illegal acts such as price gouging and making and selling of fake products should be strictly investigated and severely punished.
Fourthly, hospital is quiet important. The medical workers should be well protected, because they are on the frontline of the battle.
Fifth, timely release of information. Making sure “the public is fully informed” is key to establishing strong social consensus. Timely data should be released by authorities in an open, transparent and responsible manner to provide people with dynamic, clear and important information. Rumors should also be dispelled timely.
Here I would like to introduce two books, one is “China’s battle against Coronavirus: Daily Log”, the other is” Stories of Courage and Determination: Wuhan in Coronavirus Lockdown” .these books are in Nepali, which will help people to know the reality of the Chinese people’s sacrifice in the battle.
ABCTV- Thanks to Your Excellency’s suggestion. How do you access the policy, plan and activities undertaken by Nepal government to control the pandemic situation?
Yanqi : We noticed that the measures of nationwide lock-down and suspension of international commercial flights undertaken by the Nepali government have played a vital role in containing the pandemic and achieved good results. Now the situation of pandemic in the south part of Nepal is getting increasingly serious. It’s not time to relax. It is my suggestion that the Nepali government continue with strict policy and Kathmandu is the center of Nepal, the movement of people should be strictly controlled. The management of the southern border, the hospital or community where found the confirmed cases and its surrounding areas, isolation measure should be strengthened to prevent more transmission.
ABC TV : Your Excellency, you, in the meeting with Ministers of Nepal government, always put stress on the necessity of Nepal in control of the virus and expressed the willingness of the Chinese government to cooperate Nepal in medical equipment, protective suits as well as health professionals. Regarding the control of pandemic have you received any specific request from Nepali side? Would you please elaborate?
Yanqi : In the early stage of the pandemic, we have received request on cooperation, including medical material requirement and experience sharing, from the Nepali government. We can understand that the Nepali government put the health and safety of Nepali people in most urgent priority and coordinated and responded as soon as possible.
As you know, the Chinese government, army, some provinces like Sichuan, Yunnan, Shanxi, Gansu and Xizang, some enterprises and NGOs, the department of Asian Affairs of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our Embassy have donated several batches of medical materials, including 1.51 million medical masks, 162,000 N95 masks, 80,000 testing kits, more than 35,000 PPE and etc.
In order to meet Nepal’s demand for medical materials, the Chinese side has also introduced China Sinopharm International Corporation, which is the largest and strongest pharmaceutical company in China, to sign an agreement with the Nepali side to provide medical materials. Besides, we have also reopened Zhangmu (Tatopani) border point to assist the Nepali side to import medical logistics and daily necessities at the request of the Nepali side.
Regarding experience sharing, we have organized 4 video conferences for doctors and experts from both sides to share the information and experience on pandemic prevention and control, clinical diagnosis and
Treatment, customs quarantine and so on. The Nepali side highly appreciated them and considered them timely and effectively.
ABC TV : Your Excellency, there are some rumors about quality problems of few medical supplies from China. Would you please clarify this?
Yanqi : On this issue, I have some points to share with you.
Firstly, it’s quite normal that different countries have different standards of medical materials.
Secondly, the correct use and proper preservation and transportation of medical materials should be strictly obeyed. Otherwise, it will cause unpredictable problems.
Thirdly, in the beginning of global outbreak, countries almost all over the world rushed into Chinese market to purchase medical materials urgently. Some of the Chinese companies which they contacted with didn’t have export qualification, even the buyers acknowledged about that.
Fourthly, China attaches great importance to supervise the quality of export medical materials. Now the Chinese authorities have introduced more strict regulatory measures that export companies of medical materials need to state in written form upon customs clearance that their products have valid registration certificate for medical devices and products and meet the quality standards of their destinations.
Fifth, some western countries politicized the so-called quality issue of Chinese products, which was irresponsible and undesirable.
ABC TV : Your Excellency, the economy of China was hit strongly by the pandemic in the first quarter of this year. Would you please introduce the economic situation of China?
Yanqi : The COVID-19 pandemic constituted a huge challenge to China’s economy and the GDP in the first quarter of this year fell 6.8% year-on-year. China is really facing the challenge to achieve the goal of eliminating absolute poverty by this year.
But still there are some highlights which we feel optimistic. The resumption of work, production and business in China has sped up. The overall employment situation is stable. The supply of agricultural products and basic livelihood of the people are guaranteed. The financial market remains stable. And the new engines of growth is growing fast and the expectation of business has improved.
This is a tough year for the whole world. Currently, the highest priority is to contain the pandemic. In the day of globalization, no country can stay safe alone. Only when we win the battle against the pandemic, the world economy could be recovered entirely. We should get rid of prejudice, build the trust each other, together fight against the pandemic and bring back the normal social and economic life of the world.
ABC TV : It seems that China’ economy has almost recovered from the pandemic. But the developing countries like Nepal still suffer from a long lasting economic impact of the pandemic. Under this circumstance what kind of economic cooperation can China provide in Nepal?
Yanqi : As I have mentioned, the highest priority is to contain the pandemic. So we will do our best to help Nepal contain the pandemic. This is very crucial to Nepal’s economy.
After the pandemic is contained, we will encourage Chinese enterprises in Nepal to resume work and accelerate the projects. We also hope the Nepali government to issue preferential policies to stimulate the economy and help Chinese enterprises. We are considering to share our experience of economic development in the post-pandemic time with our friendly countries including Nepal under the framework of BRI.
Besides, China recently joined the G20 initiative to “support a suspension of debt service payments for the poorest countries” which freeze both principal repayments and interest payments for these countries from May 1, 2020 to the end of 2020. We will strengthen communication and cooperation with all sides including Nepal to implement follow-up measures of this initiative.
ABCTV: Your Excellency, all the countries in South Asia are facing the challenge of the pandemic. In which aspects that China can cooperate with SAARC?
Yanqi : China is a neighboring country of mutual assistance and solidarity to South Asia, and the observer of SAARC. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 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 medical materials assistance to most of the South Asian countries to the best of our ability. We sent several medical teams to this region, and held online video conferences with South Asian countries bilaterally or multilaterally.
Nowadays, the pandemic in South Asia is increasing rapidly and all the counties 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 we will continuously support SAARC secretariat to play its role.
ABCTV : Your Excellency, some countries made a series of groundless accusations over the origin of the COVID-19. Some politicians claimed there is significant evidence that the virus started in a Chinese lab. What is your opinion on these allegations?
Yanqi : It is a common consensus in the international community that the origin of the virus is a scientific and professional matter that should be addressed by scientists and experts in disease control. China was the first country to report novel coronavirus infected cases, but it is entirely groundless to accuse China of the origin of the novel coronavirus.
Some western countries are spreading rumors and wrong information. This “infodemic” is slur on the achievement of China’s fight against the pandemic. It is slur on the sacrifice of Chinese people in fighting against the pandemic. It is also slur on the international cooperation actively conducted by China to fight against the pandemic.
Finally, we believe that most countries will not follow these western countries. We hope all countries can put the safety of people’s lives and health at top priority, safeguard the authority of WHO, focus on fighting the pandemic and work hand in hand to win the battle.
ABC TV : Your Excellency, you always say “a friend in need is a friend indeed” and China is
our best friend forever. So in this adverse situation what message you like to give to the Nepalese people?
Yanqi : I would like to say, friend in need is friend indeed. Hope and confidence are more precious than gold. We appreciate the solidarity that Nepali people showed toward Chinese people when we were in difficult times. COVID-19 pandemic is a disaster and challenge to the global health governance, but it’s not unbeatable. I believe that with the efforts of the Nepali government and people, with the help of China and other friendly countries, the pandemic in Nepal will be controlled successfully. The Chinese people will always stand with the Nepali people. Let’s fight side by side and win this battle together.
Thank you very much you and your pioneer ABC News Television.