Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

China and Afghanistan Working Together to Win the Battle Against the Virus

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China and Afghanistan Working Together  to Win the Battle Against the Virus

Recently, a sudden outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia emerged in China. All Chinese people have made great sacrifices and efforts to this end and are still fighting against the coronavirus. As Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan, I have been closely following the trend of the coronavirus and maintained good communication with the Afghan government and the media. Here, I would like to brief my Afghan friends on the latest situation of the epidemic.
For the government of China, outbreak containment is of paramount importance now. President Xi Jinping chaired leadership meetings and made important instructions. Acting with a high sense of responsibility to people’s health, the Chinese government has taken the most comprehensive and strict prevention and control measures after the outbreak of the epidemic, many of which have far exceeded what International Health Regulations required. We make the best use of the socialist system’s advantages, which enable us to concentrate resources to accomplish large undertakings and mobilize all of China in action to fight the epidemic. The miracle of building the Huoshenshan Hospital in 10 days and the touching story of more than 7000 medical workers rushing to help Wuhan despite difficulties and dangers have demonstrated China’s conviction and courage in resolutely defeating the epidemic.
China has also been actively fulfilling its international obligations for the cause of global health and security. Since the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, the Chinese Government,  acting in an open, transparent and responsible manner, has been sharing timely information with its citizens and the international community, informed WHO of the epidemic situation immediately, shared the virus genetic sequence with WHO and other countries in a timely manner, and actively responding to various concerns and seeking stronger cooperation with the world.
According to a WHO report released on February 3, there are altogether 153 confirmed cases of the 2019-nCoV outside China, which is less than 1% of the number in China, and no case in Afghanistan so far. In contrast, in 2009, the H1N1 flu in the US spread to 214 regions and countries, including Afghanistan. The 2019-nCoV mortality rate in China is about 2.1%, much lower than that of the 2009 H1N1 flu and other previous outbreaks. This shows that China has done its best and taken the most powerful measures to control the spread of the epidemic and protect the health of people around the world. Another good news is that since February 1, the number of cured patients in China has exceeded the number of deaths. As of 24:00 on February 4, a total of 892 cases have been cured and discharged from hospital. This is an important sign that the epidemic is controllable and treatable. At present, the cure rate is still rising, and it is believed that we will see the turning point soon. The Chinese government and people are united as one, and we have the confidence, ability and resources to win this war against the epidemic as soon as possible.
Afghan friends also have confidence in China’s war against the epidemic. H.E. President Ghani, H.E. Chief Executive Abdullah, H.E. acting Foreign Minister Chakhansuri and H.E. Minister of Public Health Feroz have repeatedly expressed their confidence through various channels that China will win the fight against the epidemic. The Afghanistan-China Friendship Association led by H.E. Ambassador Baheen, the Third Political Department of the MoFA, also expressed support. On Twitter, many Afghan netizens left messages to bless China to overcome the epidemic as soon as possible. All these have moved me very much, and I really feel the traditional friendship of helping each other and sharing weal and woe between China and Afghanistan. In addition, many countries and international organizations have also cast a “vote of confidence” in China’s fight against the epidemic. WHO Director-General praised China for setting a new standard for outbreak response, said that there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel.
Some Afghan friends also asked me about the situation of Afghan students in Wuhan, Hubei Province. In this regard, I have maintained close communication with the acting Foreign Minister and the Minister of Public Health of Afghanistan. A few days ago, I paid a special visit to Minister of Public Health Dr. Feroz to brief him about Afghan students in Wuhan and said that China would ensure their health. Dr. Feroz was glad to hear that they are in good health. The embassy has kept in touch with some Afghan students studying in Wuhan. A student named Mujtaba published an open letter a few days ago, saying that although he was faced with the threat of the novel coronavirus, he was not panicked in Wuhan. He now has plenty of food, an orderly life and full confidence in the prevention and control of the epidemic. It is very touching that Afghan students are working together with the people of Wuhan to fight the epidemic, and the fine tradition of helping each other and sharing weal and woe between China and Afghanistan is being passed on among young people. I want to stress that virus knows no borders. The epidemic is temporary, but cooperation lasts. In the face of the epidemic, many countries, including Afghanistan, have provided support and assistance to China in fighting the epidemic in different ways, for which we are grateful. In the face of a public health crisis, countries should not create and spread fear. They should work together to overcome the difficulties, rather than resort to beggar-thy-neighbor practice, let alone take advantage of others’ difficulties. China will continue cooperating with WHO and countries concerned including Afghanistan to safeguard the life and health of people of all countries. As a widely circulated poem in the Muslim world goes, human beings are members of a whole, in creation of one essence and soul; if one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain. China and Afghanistan are friendly and brotherly countries that have thousands of years of friendship. I believe that as long as the two countries work together, we will win the war of prevention and control of the coronavirus outbreak together.

Wang Yu is Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan

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