China Guarantees coordination as virus grows

WHO declares outbreak constitutes global public health emergency

China pledged on Friday to operate with the global community to uphold regional and global health safety, and reiterated it has the confidence and capacity to win the struggle against the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed 213 lives throughout the nation as of Thursday.

The pledge came as the World Health Organization announced on Thursday that the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of global concern, or PHEIC, following a crisis meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

The number of confirmed instances of novel coronavirus climbed to 9,692 on the Chinese mainland as of Thursday, among which, Hubei province — the epicenter of the outbreak — reported 5,806 affirmed infections. The Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions in addition to Taiwan reported 28 confirmed cases of the disease as of Thursday. The virus has also spread into several other Asian countries and reached Australia and Europe too.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in an internet statement on Friday that because the outbreak, China has been in close communication and cooperation with the WHO. “China will continue working with the WHO and other countries to protect regional and global public health protection,” Hua explained.

Saying the Chinese government has been taking the most comprehensive and rigorous avoidance and management measures for people’s health and safety, Hua added that many of the steps go well beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations.

“We have full confidence and capacity to win this fight against the outbreak,” she explained.

The commission expects countries from around the globe will work with China to jointly prevent and contain the disease in line with the International Health Regulations in addition to the recommendations of the WHO in order to protect regional and global public health safety, according to a statement issued by the commission on its website. Rather it is necessary because humantohuman infections are confirmed in other countries.

“As I’ve said since my return from Beijing, the Chinese government is to be congratulated to the extraordinary measures it has taken to control the outbreak, regardless of the intense social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people,” Tedros said at a news conference following a closeddoor meeting of the Emergency Committee.

Tedros said that the WHO doesn’t recommend limiting movement and trade, and opposes any travel restrictions against China.

“We would have observed many more instances out China by now, and likely deaths, even if it weren’t for the government’s efforts and the progress they’ve made to protect their own people and the people of the world,” Tedros said.

“The speed with which China discovered the outbreak, isolated the virus, sequenced the genome and shared it with WHO and the world are extremely impressive and beyond words. So is China’s commitment to transparency and supporting other countries. In many ways, China is really setting a new benchmark for outbreak response, and this is not an exaggeration,” he included.

in a phone conversation with Canadian Foreign Minister FrancoisPhilippe Champagne on Friday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed expectation that Ottawa will respect the recommendations of the WHO in an objective and fair way to guarantee trade exchanges and travel of all individuals between China and Canada won’t be affected.

Champagne said Canada highly appreciates China’s powerful steps and the open and transparent manner it has conducted itself in control and prevention of their contagion, and can also be fully confident of its ability in handling the outbreak. Addressing a news gathering at UN headquarters in New York on Thursday,” Zhang said the WHO recommendations “should be seriously considered” and “there is no reason for steps that interfere with global travel and commerce ”.

He called for all states to adopt a responsible attitude, work together to fight the virus and avoid overreacting.

Since the outbreak of the contagion, leaders of foreign countries and global organizations have voiced their support , and highly commended, China’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

Angus McNeice at London and Hong Xiao at New York contributed to this story.

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