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Home > News in Pictures
Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Press Conference at the Chinese Embassy
Chinese Embassy in the UK, 6 February 2020
2020/02/07

Friends from the Media,

Members of Diplomatic Corps,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good morning!

Thank you for joining us at the Chinese Embassy for today's press conference about the updates of the novel coronavirus situation and prevention and control measures in China.

Since the outbreak of the disease, the Chinese Government has taken a series of decisive and rigorous prevention and control measures. The speed, intensity and coverage of China's response have been unprecedented in the world. Let me use three "great's" to expound China's actions.

First, the Chinese Government has attached great importance to epidemic prevention and control.

President Xi Jinping has made important instructions on many occasions, emphasising that the safety of life and health of the people are the top priority. He also called twice the meetings of the top leadership and set up a taskforce to map out plans of epidemic prevention.

Premier Li Keqiang, entrusted by President Xi, went to Wuhan to lead the counter-virus efforts. The whole nation has been mobilized; prevention and control efforts have been deployed and strengthened across the country. China has gone all out to fight the disease.

  • At the national level, the relevant government departments are taking up their responsibility; the military has been mobilised to help;
  • In all the places, the counter-virus taskforces are led by key Party and government officials.
  • At the very frontline of treatment and care, medical workers are making selfless sacrifice and showing tremendous courage.
  • In the communities, the people stand united to wage a "people's war" against an invisible enemy.

The vigorous measures are taking effect gradually. On the whole, the epidemic is preventable, controllable and curable.

Second, the Chinese Government has demonstrated a great sense of responsibility.

Since the outbreak, the Chinese Government has taken the most comprehensive and strict prevention and control measures, many of which go far beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations. By taking these measures, China is safeguarding the safety of life and health of not only the Chinese people, but also people of the whole world. China is doing its best to safeguard global public health.

  • Temporary measures of collective quarantine have been implemented in Wuhan and other places to prevent further spread of the disease.
  • More than 6,000 medical professionals from all over the country have arrived in Hubei Province, including Wuhan.
  • Medical supplies such as masks, hazmat suits and medicines, and daily necessities such as meat and vegetable have been transported to the affected areas without delay.
  • Two specialised hospitals, Huoshenshan Hospital and Leishenshan Hospital, were built in ten days and have started to receive and treat the critically ill.

I want to emphasize that, although a large number of people have been infected with this virus, the mortality rate in China, which stands at 2.1%, is very low. This is much lower than Ebola (40.4%), SARS (10%) and MERS (34.4%). In the United States, more than 19 million people have fallen ill with the flu so far this season, with the death toll being ten thousand. This is more serious than the coronavirus infection. Currently in China, the number of cured patients of is rising. We are fully confident in beating the virus.

China is also honouring its obligation. Dr. Tedros, the Director General of the World Health Organisation, has expressed full recognition of China's prevention and control efforts, and spoken highly of the tremendous contribution that China has made to the world in fighting the disease. He said that China "is setting a new standard for outbreak response."

China attaches great importance to containing the potential spread of the virus to other countries and regions. It has strengthened management and control on overseas travelling of Chinese citizens, and called on the Chinese people to take up their social responsibilities to help prevent further spread of the disease.

As of February 3rd, there were 153 confirmed cases outside China, which accounted for less than 1% of all cases. This is a testament to the effectiveness of the measures that China has taken and its important contribution to preventing the spread of the disease and protecting the health and safety of people of China and the whole world.

Third, the Chinese Government has attached great importance to enhancing international cooperation.

China is open, transparent and responsible in its cooperation with the world.

First, China has shared with WHO, the relevant countries, and the regions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan the information about the epidemic, including the genetic sequence of the virus. This is highly appreciated by WHO and many countries. China has also kept in close touch with many countries at the bilateral level on the prevention and control of the disease.

Second, China has attached great importance to the safety of foreign nationals in China and tried its best to address the difficulties they face by keeping them informed about the epidemic through various channels, including through foreign representative institutions. As of February 6th, 19 foreign nationals in China have been tested positive of the disease, of which, two have been cured, and 17 are under quarantine and treatment. China has also offered assistance to some countries, including the UK, in evacuating their nationals.

Third, China is enhancing cooperation with the international community on the research and development of the vaccine. We are working together to safeguard the safety of public health around the world.

In face of the epidemic, people have shown great love to each other. Government officials and people from all walks of life in many countries have expressed their sympathy, trust and support for China. Many governments and international organisations have donated supplies for epidemic prevention and control.

Here in the UK, in addition to government aid, the business community, the Chinese associations and Chinese students have donated money and supplies through various channels. A few days ago, a donation ceremony was held here at the Chinese Embassy, attended by more than 20 Chinese community and student associations in the UK. We have been deeply touched and greatly encouraged. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all those in the UK who have shown their love and kindness!

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Chinese Government has the firm resolve and has taken vigorous measures to prevent the spread of the disease. This will continue to be the most important work.

First, we will try our best to treat the infected.

Every life counts. The right to survival and health is the most basic and important human right. Medical institutions all over China are doing their very best to increase the hospitalization rate and cure rate, and reduce infection rate and mortality rate.

Second, we will strengthen the epidemic prevention and control efforts in key areas.

By key areas, we mean Hubei Province, especially Wuhan City. Prevention and control measures are being improved and strengthened in this Province.

  • Patients are diagnosed, reported, isolated and treated at a most timely manner.
  • Monitoring of the epidemic development is strengthened.
  • The infected are treated in specialised hospitals.
  • People who have had close contact with patients are under close medical observation.

All these are aimed at preventing further spread of the disease.

Third, we are enhancing international cooperation on epidemic prevention and control, and on scientific research.

China will continue working closely with the WHO and the relevant countries and regions.

A few days ago, China published multi-language versions of the Guide for General Public to Prevent Pneumonia Caused by the Novel Coronavirus, which has been shared with all countries in the world through social media and other channels at top speed. This demonstrates China's sincerity to work with the international community to fight the disease. This also shows China's determination to take up its responsibilities as a reliable global player.

As I understand, researchers from China, the UK and other countries are working round the clock to trace the origin and transmission route of the virus, follow closely its evolution, share the relevant data and case information, design prevention and control strategies and measures, and develop new drugs and vaccine.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is understandable that there are concerns in the UK and the rest of the world about the epidemic. Some people are worried that it might have a negative effect on China's economy or even the world economy. There are also overreactions by individual countries, panic among the public, and even insulting and discriminatory remarks and behavior targeting the overseas Chinese community. With regard to these issues, I want to stress the following four points:

First, the impact on China's economy should be seen from a comprehensive perspective.

At the moment, the epidemic is having a relatively severe impact on the service sector, including transport, tourism, hospitality, catering, films and entertainment.

But the impact will be short-term and temporary. It will not change the fundamentals of China's economy, which will maintain sound growth in the long run.

China's economy is highly resilient and has enormous potential for growth in the mid-to-long term. China has the capability and confidence to minimise the economic impact of the epidemic.

The World Bank, the IMF and well-respected economists in the world have all agreed that the impact of the epidemic on China's economy is temporary, and they have full confidence in the future of China's economy.

Second, understanding of the epidemic should be objective and reasonable.

The WHO has reiterated that it disapproves of and is even against travel and trade restrictions on China. In recent days, the UK, at the bilateral level, has fully recognised China's tremendous efforts and effective measures in fighting the virus. It also expressed the willingness to enhance cooperation with China and do its best to assist China in these efforts.

It is our hope that governments of all countries, including the UK, will understand and support China's efforts, respect the professional advice of the WHO, avoid overreaction, avoid creating panic, and ensure the normal cooperation and exchanges between countries.

Third, media reports of the epidemic should be objective and fair.

Coronavirus has been hitting headlines in many countries, including the UK. Many of the reports speak highly of China's counter-virus efforts or offer objective and reasonable advice. We appreciate that. However, some reports are biased, or even contain malicious slander and disinformation.

Rumours and panic are more frightening than the virus itself. Confidence and determination are of vital importance in overcoming the epidemic. The issue of public health goes beyond national borders and requires the joint efforts of all sides, including the media, who should take up their due social responsibility in this battle against a common enemy of all mankind.

Fourth, we should join hands to oppose any insulting or discriminatory words and behavior.

I fully agree with Dr. Tedros, the Director General of WHO, who said, "This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumours. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma."

I believe this is a time for reason and cool-headedness. This is a time for scientific approach and rational response. It is my hope that people from all quarters of the society will stand up against this challenge and pull together.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

A Chinese saying goes, "When people are of one mind, they can move Mount Tai."

I am confident that under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, and with the strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the solidarity and perseverance of the Chinese people, and the broad support from the international community, we will beat the virus!

Every time I host a press conference, I would play a video clip. Today, I want to share a heartwarming clip showing how our British friends are standing with us to meet the challenges.

(Video is played.)

Now I would like to take your questions.

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