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The Mail on Sunday published a letter from the Chinese Embassy in the UK on the report about effectiveness of China's fight against COVID-19

On 19 April, the Mail on Sunday published a letter from the Chinese Embassy in the UK on the newspaper’s unjustified comments on effectiveness of China’s fight against COVID-19. The full text is as follows:

Last week, The Mail on Sunday carried an article which made groundless accusations, speculations and vicious slanders against China. It even quoted claims from a member of an outlawed cult to discredit China’s effective work in fighting Covid-19 and defame China’s image and reputation.

This constitutes a serious breach of the professional ethics of journalism. We strongly deplore it.

We would like to make the following comments.

First, the Chinese government always regards people’s lives and health as the top priority.

Since the outbreak, the government has put in place the strictest, most thorough and most comprehensive containment measures, which have proved to be effective.

As the World Health Organisation says, China has taken the most courageous, most flexible and most active prevention and control measures, which altered the dangerous course of the virus’s quick spread and prevented hundreds of thousands of infections nationwide.

Second, China has been releasing information related to the epidemic in the most open, transparent and responsible manner, publicising relevant data since the early days of the outbreak.

Recently, following standard epidemiological practice, the authorities in Wuhan revisited the cases and made revision to the number of confirmed cases and fatalities on a factual basis.

Data revision in the case of highly infectious diseases is a common international practice.

At the early stage of an epidemic, a small number of medical facilities might be overwhelmed with a flood of new cases and might not be promptly linked up with the disease prevention and control data collection system.

At the same time, preoccupation with saving lives during the most challenging times of the epidemic could result in an inadvertent delay in reporting, under-reporting or misreporting at some facilities. But there has never been any cover-up, nor was a cover-up ever allowed to happen.

The relatively low Covid-19 death toll in China proves that the containment measures are effective. The strict lockdown measures have effectively slowed down the spread of the virus and minimised the cases of infection.

Regarding reports of people in Wuhan queuing to collect urns, this was because funeral parlours were closed from January 23 to March 23. Urns of those who died of other causes in the past two months are also being delivered now.

The lifting of outbound travel restrictions in Hubei province and Wuhan symbolises an initial victory against the virus and proves that the disease is preventable, controllable and curable.

Certainly, the reopening of Wuhan doesn’t mean that China is lowering its guard. The Chinese government remains vigilant against imported cases and a domestic resurgence of Covid-19 and is taking targeted measures to contain it. At the same time it is getting the economy back on track, reopening factories and ensuring unimpeded travel within the country.

The incident that happened on the border between Hubei and Jiangxi provinces in late March was already resolved. It makes no sense hyping up something that is no longer an issue.

Currently, China is standing together with the UK in the global fight against Covid-19. Our people are joining hands to overcome the current difficulties.

At this critical moment, the media should send out positive signals to promote mutual understanding and co-operation, instead of whipping up anti-China sentiments and poisoning the atmosphere of China-UK co-operation.

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