The Coronavirus outbreak is currently the single most important subject hitting the headlines all over the world.
The impact of the epidemic has been devastating in China. At the moment, many cities remain in lockdown.
Fighting against the disease caused by this virus, now officially named COVID-19, is without a doubt a top priority for the Chinese government and the whole nation.
Since the outbreak, China has gone all out to fight the disease. The intensity and speed of China’s response has been unprecedented. It’s too early to say when victory will be attained, but so far, it appears measures put in place have stopped millions from contracting the disease. Many concur it could have been worse if China was slow to act or didn’t have the capacity to face the epidemic.
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After confirmation of the epidemic, China has laid out measures that have indeed ensured that the number of fatalities and those infected are minimal. These actions deserve credit and can be emulated by the world, particularly by Africa.
To begin with, China immediately established a unified command centre to coordinate its response to the virus outbreak. It did so knowing fully well that fighting such a serious epidemic requires a central organization point.
Yet, from the beginning, the Central Government left no doubt that the lives and health of its citizens remain the greatest priority. To achieve this, the state quickly established a task force to ensure that all urgent issues are addressed promptly.
To set the ball rolling, the Beijing based administration immediately allocated a total of 67 billion yuan towards this fight.
But the greatest task perhaps was how to mobilize the entire Chinese nation to play a part in this war. All the 31 provinces in China’s mainland have activated first-level public health emergency response, taking the most comprehensive and rigorous measures possible.
Thousands of experts, medical teams, engineers, construction workers and many more have been deployed to the worst-hit areas.
So far, information at the Chinese foreign affairs ministry shows that over 20 tons of medical supplies are being delivered to the outbreak epicentre every hour. In the meantime, patient subsidy policy was immediately declared and implemented.
Communities both in urban and rural are regularly sanitizing their compounds. Citizens have made daily reporting mandatory, so as to cut off the transmission of the virus.
The outbreak hit as the Chinese nation awaited the Spring Festival. This is always a golden season for a family reunion, visiting friends and travel. Ever since the epidemic, however, the entire population has readily subjected itself to home quarantine.
The third, and perhaps maybe the most profound gesture is that the whole nation is fighting as one. Hubei Province and especially Wuhan is the epicentre, yet they are not fighting alone. More than 23,000 medical staff have been mobilized and deployed to Hubei to offer all needed support.
Two new quickly constructed specialized hospitals with over 2600 beds for the coronavirus treatment are now being operated in Wuhan. They were set up in a record 10 days. A dozen of mobile clinics have also been established to handle mild cases.
In the meantime, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and some renowned scientists from China alongside the WHO are burning the midnight oil so as to develop a vaccine to treat the virus.
Medical institutions all over China are doing their very best to increase the cure rate, and reduce infection rate and mortality rate.
Prevention and control measures have been boosted. Patients are diagnosed, reported, isolated and treated at a most timely manner. People who have had close contact with patients are under close medical observation.
All these efforts are aimed at preventing further spread of the disease.
Throughout this period it is also worth noting that China has acted with openness and transparency. The Chinese authorities have been updating the data and situation every day.
Chinese embassies abroad also continue to monitor the entry of Chinese nationals into other countries with instructions to have them strictly adhere to control measures. Everyone coming back from China is required to isolate themselves at home for 14 days even they have no symptoms.
Even as many towns and institutions come under total lockdown, the government has been trying its best to provide good medical care, daily supplies and logistics support for those working or studying in China.
Chinese media outlets are also playing their role in this fight. They are disseminating information that is key in combating further spread of the virus.
These efforts have earned a commendation from the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who concurs that China has made a very strong and very impressive response.
This outbreak is a global health emergency which in all likelihood poorer countries may not be able to cope with. A continent like Africa still suffers weaker health systems.
The way countries in West Africa dealt with the Ebola outbreak between 2014 2016 and more recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo bears testimony to this. In the two occasions, both structural and organizational strategies were lacking or non-existent to be able to handle critical cases of the disease.
This is why the way China has responded to the coronavirus outbreak is something to be emulated in the continent. China is currently the continent’s greatest trading partner and it is my sincere hope that African governments are learning from the Asian economic giant.