OP-ED|Brothers from afar join hands to fight COVID-19

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By Chinese Ambassador to Guyana CUI Jianchun

On Monday last week, China and the nine Caribbean countries that have diplomatic relations with China, including Guyana, held a Visual Special Vice-Ministerial Meeting on COVID-19. At the time when mankind faces the unprecedented global public health crisis, this special meeting has sent a strong message that we should strengthen international cooperation and work together to fight the pandemic.

The World Health Organization, after seeking the opinions of many scientists, determined that the novel coronavirus came from nature. Judging from the earliest cases found in several countries, the origin of the virus is unclear. Like H1N1, Ebola, Yellow fever, and Zika, it reminds mankind how ignorant we are in the face of nature. The process of scientific exploration from diagnosis, treatment, research and development of vaccine to the eradication of COVID-19 is long and complicated. As of May 20, more than 4.9 million people have been infected in more than 210 countries and regions, and more than 320,000 people have died. This shows that no country, big or small, rich or poor, can manage alone or stand aloof from the pandemic.

China upholds the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and fight the pandemic together with the international community without reservation. At the 73rd World Health Assembly on May 18th, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced China’s five major initiatives to promote global anti-pandemic cooperation, including the provision of 2 billion USD assistance within two years to support countries affected by the pandemic, especially developing countries to respond and struggle with economic and social recovery.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China has donated 50 million USD to WHO, set up a 2 billion yuan special fund for anti-pandemic cooperation, sent 24 medical expert groups overseas, and provided a lot of material assistance to WHO and many countries.

The timeline released by the World Health Organization shows that China provided information to the international community in a fast, timely, open, transparent and responsible manner, and WHO affirms that “China has done its best.”

China-Caribbean cooperation is a model of international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. China received much support from the Caribbean when it was in the most difficult time of fighting the pandemic. Leaders of the Caribbean countries sent letters to the Chinese leaders to express their sympathy and solidarity. The 31st Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM issued a communiqué supporting China. Some people recorded videos to cheer for China. As soon as the Caribbean region was hit by the pandemic, the Chinese side provided support and assistance.

Within its capacity, China aided many batches of medical supplies to Caribbean countries, and shared anti-pandemic experience and lessons with the Caribbean side. Taking into account the particular vulnerabilities of the Caribbean region, at the Special Vice-Ministerial Meeting on COVID-19, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang promised to provide the Caribbean side with another 3 million RMB worth of medical supplies. China also calls on the international community to provide the Caribbean region with necessary assistance and support to fight the COVID-19. A friend in need is a friend indeed. China and the Caribbean are true friends, and the vast ocean cannot stop the brotherly friendship between us.

The world has become a global village that “there is a bit of me in you and a bit of you in me”. All countries have the shared destiny. The act of politicizing, stigmatizing and labeling the COVID-19 pandemic disregarding facts and science, and blaming other countries and people can only create and spread “political virus” and “information virus”. These “viruses” not only hinder the containing of COVID-19, but also increase the destructiveness of the pandemic and cause more people to suffer more severely. At this critical moment, mankind needs confidence rather than panic, unity rather than division, and cooperation rather than blaming. Only by overcoming arrogance and prejudice, focusing on the pandemic itself, strengthening confidence, and working together, can all countries get out of the predicament and the lives of the people can return to normal as early as possible.