Published: 11:57, March 6, 2020 | Updated: 06:53, June 6, 2023
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Cooperation seen as vital for global health
By Mo Jingxi

A customs officer checks passengers’ health information at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, March 4, 2020. (YIN LIQIN / CHINA NEWS SERVICE)

China will do its utmost to strengthen cooperation with the World Health Organization and offer assistance to meet the urgent needs of countries severely hit by the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, a senior official of the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Given the trend of the epidemic's global spread, China has, within its ability, provided test kits to some countries, including Pakistan and Japan, and shared therapeutic solutions with many others, Vice-Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said at a news briefing in Beijing.

Ma said that the Chinese government will soon provide urgently needed medical materials to South Korea as the number of confirmed cases continues to rise in the country, which has the most infections outside of China.

Faced with the epidemic, all countries should help each other as passengers in the same boat, strengthen cooperation and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Ma Zhaoxu, Chinese vice-foreign minister

The two countries are also looking into establishing a joint quarantine procedure to effectively prevent cross-border transmission, he said.

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As of Thursday, more than 13,000 coronavirus cases have been reported outside of China, with South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan being the worst-hit countries.

According to Ma, the requests for assistance that China has received from other countries are for virus test kits, protective materials such as masks, drugs and treatment experience.

"In fact, many of these countries have provided donations to China for combating the virus," Ma said.

As of Monday, 62 countries and seven international organizations had donated medical materials such as masks and protective clothing that China urgently needs.

Speaking at the news briefing, Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, said that China will also boost technical cooperation and communications with the international community.

"China will continue to support exchanges between Chinese and foreign experts on sharing preventive and treatment techniques through various forms such as videoconferences and teleconferences," Zeng said.

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China will also support domestic public health and medical institutions to send expert teams to carry out cooperation with institutions in relevant countries and help them train medical professionals, he said.

Ma, the vice-foreign minister, said the epidemic has once again made it clear that nations have shared interests in the age of globalization.

"Faced with the epidemic, all countries should help each other as passengers in the same boat, strengthen cooperation and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind," he said.

He added that China hopes the World Health Organization will further promote international cooperation, especially by offering more help and assistance to developing countries with weak protective capability.

"China will not be absent from such efforts," Ma said, adding that the country is considering donating money to the WHO in response to its appeal to help efforts to fight the virus.