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H.E. Shi Ting WANG Gave an Exclusive Interview to the Daily Graphic on the Pandemic of COVID-19

On 15 April, H.E. Shi Ting WANG, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, gave an exclusive interview to the Daily Graphic on the pandemic of COVID-19. Here is the full transcript of the interview:

Daily Graphic: After 76-day lockdown, Wuhan city, the former epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, was reopened on April 8th. Does it mean Wuhan is now totally free of cases?

Ambassador Wang: The good news is that Wuhan has only reported three newly confirmed cases since March 18, and no newly confirmed cases in other parts of Hubei province have been reported since March 5. This is the major reason why we reopen Wuhan. But meanwhile, zero newly confirmed cases are by no means equivalent to zero risks, and reopen is not release the prevention and control. As for the COVID-19, we still have a lot of unknowns. And Wuhan, as the transportation hub in central China, is still facing the risk of imported cases. Wuhan's cautious unblocking is far from a final victory over the health threat, we will continue to put the prevention and control as our top priority.

Daily Graphic: What have been some of the experiences accumulated by China’s government during the lockdown?

Ambassador Wang: The lockdown of Wuhan is the strictest ever measure to curb an epidemic in modern human history. We responded quickly with a nationwide mobilization. Two hospitals with 2600 beds have been constructed within 14 days. 16 temporary hospitals have been set up in Wuhan. More than 45,000 medical doctors and nurses from other provinces went to Wuhan to rescue. And the “Vegetable Basket” and “Rice Bag” of Wuhan people are guaranteed by reallocating the resources nationwide. At the same time, we put the prevention and control measures based on law and science. We uphold social stability, speed up the scientific research, released information about the epidemic in a timely manner, strengthen the international cooperation on the battle with COVID-19 and quickly selected some effective medicines and treatments. Of course, we still have more experiences to share and we’d like to keep communication in this regard.

Daily Graphic: With the experiences learned, what are the take-homes Ghana can adopt?

Ambassador Wang: China’s experiences have been proved effective and we welcome you to learn from them. Beyond that, I’d like to emphasize on three points. First, everyone should actively answer the call of government and do not go outside if there is no special necessity. Second, we should do our best to protect the medical workers. Protecting them is protecting ourselves. Third, don’t be panic and stay calm, respond scientifically.

Daily Graphic: Are there any debt reliefs from China for Ghana/other African countries in the light of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Ambassador Wang: Due to the spreading pandemic, developing countries, especially low-income countries, are facing greater challenges. China attaches high importance to that. China’s principle on financial cooperation is equal-footed consultation, mutual benefit and common development. We will never take advantage of others’ difficulties. We resolve issues like this through bilateral consultation. We also hope G20 members can work together to implement the outcomes of the Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit on COVID-19, and help low-income countries properly address debt risks and other problems.

Daily Graphic: There are reports about Africans in Guangdong Province being tested and quarantined for 14 days even if tested negative. Why such a policy and is it discriminatory against Africans in your estimation?

Ambassador Wang: As for what you mentioned, we noted reports on that. I’d like to stress that we treat all foreign nationals equally in China. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination. In China, discrimination is a crime and completely against our policy and core value. Please be assured that we treat the Africans and other foreigners in China equally without discrimination.

Countries all over the world are taking measures to contain the pandemic. In China, our most urgent task is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from both within and without of the country. To meet this goal, we need understanding, support and cooperation from both Chinese and foreign nationals in China. In the meantime, we pay high attention to the incidents and misunderstanding occurred in this process. We urge relevant authorities to improve their way of work, and hope all foreigners in China will strictly observe local anti-epidemic regulations, and cooperate with and support us in fighting the virus. Together we will achieve the final victory.

Daily Graphic: There are perceptions that donations of testing kits and PPEs from your country to other countries, particularly developing, may be substandard ones. What are your views?

Ambassador Wang: Countries around the world are fighting the pandemic. China is eager to meet the urgent needs of other countries while overcoming its own difficulties. Our enterprises have been working overtime to provide various anti-epidemic materials to the international community. We always attach great importance to the quality of export products. Recently, the Chinese authorities introduced stricter regulatory measures, requiring relevant exporting enterprises to provide written or electronic statements when declaring to the customs that their exports have obtained the registration certificate for medical device from the State Food and Drug Administration and met the quality standards of the importing country or region. But unfortunately, some countries purchased medical supplies through intermediaries and brought about problems. In this case, it is not right to deem the donations by China is substandard.

Daily Graphic: On January 10th, China published the genome of the COVID-19, making some countries able to develop their own test kits to combat the disease. Is China close to a vaccine yet? Is China working in concert with other super powers to get a vaccine?

Ambassador Wang: As far as I know, China is working with UK, USA, Germany to develop the vaccine. Up to March 21st, we have had two vaccine candidate enter the stage of phase 1 clinical trial, which are the “recombinant novel coronavirus vaccine” developed by the team led by Chen Wei of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences of China and the mRNA-1273 developed by the Moderna company and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease of USA. Developing a vaccine is a long process. But anyway, China will continue to cooperate with other countries to strive for the early development of a vaccine in an open and transparent way.

Daily Graphic:In view of the multiple theories flying globally, has China been able to establish the exact cause of the COVID-19?

Ambassador Wang: As to the origin of the virus, it is a matter of science which requires scientific and professional assessment, and we should wait for findings of the science community. Until now, experts noted that the real origin of the virus remains unconfirmed. But some politicians and media outlets accusations of COVID-19 as the“China virus”, while such name-calling may lead to further racial discrimination, dampening the impartial study of the virus. So I would like to call these theories as conspiracy theories, which jumps to conclusion by politic motivation.

Daily Graphic: What informed the Chinese Government to support Ghana and Africa with supplies of PPEs and medical materials?

Ambassador Wang: Whenever African friends encountered difficulties, China was always the first to come for help. It is still the same today. China is the first country which support Africa’s battle against the pandemic with chartered flights. In terms of public health system, most African countries are not as strong as developed countries. Even though the confirmed cases in Africa are not as much as the European countries and the USA, but it is increasing rapidly. The best way to deal with the virus is to contain it before massive breakout. That is preventative measure. Against this backdrop, I think China’s assistance is timely, necessarily, life-sustaining, life-saving. China is the first country to response. China is also the first country to send charted aircraft to Ghana. So I think China should take that credit.

Daily Graphic: What are the influences to the China-Ghana, China-Africa relations and the world by this pandemic?

Ambassador Wang: In my view, this pandemic makes us realize that there is only one earth, we are the community with shared future, we are a big family. In this new era of globalization, countries and people have connected closely as never before and no one could live alone. Since more and more non-traditional security issues like COVID-19 will arise, there is a grown need for us mankind working together. The world’s perception to China has been changed a lot with its huge sacrifice and effective measures. I believe that, Tested by this pandemic,countries will accelerate the build of community with shared future for mankind and people around the world will be more steadfast on common development and prosperity.

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