United and Determined, We Shall Prevail
By Chinese Ambassador Jiang Jiang

There is a Chinese saying which goes "Unity of will is an unpenetrable fortress." It means when all are united around the same purpose, and as resolved as an impregnable stronghold, no difficulty is insurmountable. There is no better phrase to describe the Chinese people under the current situation.

To fight against the epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus has been the first-order priority on the Chinese government's agenda since its outbreak early this year. People's life and health are put front and center, and a range of measures, both forceful and science-based, have been promptly rolled out across the country.

Cross-sectoral approaches are adopted nationwide where the whole of the population is mobilized in combating the epidemic. The mission is to stop the virus from further spread and safeguard public health.

In this process, a hospital with 1,000 beds was built in only ten days' time, over 10,000 healthcare professionals have gone to support Hubei, the hardest-hit province, from across China, and companies are operating at full capacity in making medical supplies. It is a battle, a race against time, and these trying times have attested to the "Chinese speed".

The measures introduced are paying off. As of today, the number of cured cases has far exceeded that of fatality ones. Except for Hubei, newly confirmed cases across the country have been declining. Although the situation is still grave, the Chinese government and people have the resolve, confidence and capability to defeat the epidemic.

As it battles the outbreak, the Chinese government has been open, transparent and responsible, keeping the international community updated on the development of the epidemic. It promptly notified the World Health Organization, and shared the genetic sequence of the virus on its own initiative. It has been responsive to public concerns and worked closely with many countries and regions. Such attitude and measures have been widely appreciated and commended.

In fact, many of the measures taken by the Chinese government are well beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations. It is thanks to China's efforts that the cross-border spread of the virus has been effectively contained. At the moment, confirmed cases outside China make up less than 1% of all cases.

WHO Director-General praised China's efforts as benefiting China as well as the rest of the world, saying that China is setting a new standard for outbreak response. WHO also urged the international community to remain calm and it does not recommend imposing travel or trade restrictions.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. In the past few days, leaders of over 60 countries have expressed, in letters or public statements, their appreciation for China's efforts in curbing the virus and full confidence in China's ability to control the epidemic.

In his letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, President George Vella conveyed the solidarity and support of the Maltese people. Organizations and people from Malta and many other countries have provided assistance. We are deeply grateful for all the goodwill and support and will never forget it.

We live in an era of globalization where we are closely linked with our futures entwined. We are convinced that when all countries stick together and work in unison, we will prevail over this public health crisis and preserve the well-being of the entire humanity.

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This article was published in the Times of Malta on 12 February, 2020.

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