'We Must Provide Greater Support for Africa'; Statement by XI Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China at the Virtual Event of Opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly

Cape Times (South Africa), May 21, 2020 | Go to article overview

'We Must Provide Greater Support for Africa'; Statement by XI Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China at the Virtual Event of Opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly


PRESIDENT of the World Health Assembly, director-general of the World Health Organization, dear delegates,

To begin with, I wish to say that it is of significant importance for this World Health Assembly to be held at such a critical moment as the human race battles this novel coronavirus.

What we are facing is the most serious global public health emergency since the end of World War II. Catching the world by surprise, Covid-19 has hit over 210 countries and regions, affected more than 7 billion people around the world and claimed over 300 000 precious lives. I mourn for every life lost and express condolences to the bereaved families.

The history of human civilisation is one of fighting diseases and tiding over disasters. The virus does not respect borders. Nor is race or nationality relevant in the face of the disease. Confronted by the ravages of Covid-19, the international community has not flinched.

The people of all countries have tackled the virus head on. Around the world, people have looked out for each other and pulled together as one. With love and compassion, we have forged extraordinary synergy in the fight against Covid-19.

In China, after making painstaking efforts and enormous sacrifice, we have turned the tide on the virus and protected the life and health of our people.

All along, we have acted with openness, transparency and responsibility. We have provided information to WHO and relevant countries in a most timely fashion. We have released the genome sequence at the earliest possible time. We have shared control and treatment experience with the world without reservation.

We have done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need.

Mr President, even as we meet, the virus is still raging, and more must be done to bring it under control. To this end, I want to make the following proposals:

First, we must do everything we can for Covid-19 control and treatment. This is a most urgent task. We must always put the people first, for nothing in the world is more precious than people's lives.

We need to deploy medical expertise and critical supplies to places where they are needed the most. We need to take strong steps in such key areas as prevention, quarantine, detection, treatment and tracing.

We need to move as fast as we can to curb the global spread of the virus and do our best to stem cross-border transmission.

We need to step up information-sharing, exchange experience and best practice, and pursue international co-operation on testing methods, clinical treatment, and vaccine and medicine research and development. We also need to continue supporting global research by scientists on the source and transmission routes of the virus.

Second, the World Health Organization should lead the global response. Under the leadership of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO has made a major contribution in leading and advancing the global response to Covid-19.

Its good work is applauded by the international community. At this crucial juncture, to support WHO is to support international co-operation and the battle for saving lives as well. China calls on the international community to increase political and financial support for WHO so as to mobilise resources worldwide to defeat the virus.

Third, we must provide greater support for Africa. Developing countries, African countries in particular, have weaker public health systems. Helping them build capacity must be our top priority in Covid-19 response. The world needs to provide more material, technological and personnel support for African countries.

China has sent a tremendous amount of medical supplies and assistance to over 50 African countries and the AU. Five Chinese medical expert teams have also been sent to the African continent. …

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