China’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing stressed that his country was keen on preventing the spread of the new coronavirus, adding that President Xi Jinping had issued orders to that end and formed a team to stem the outbreak.
Chen told Asharq Al-Awsat that China had taken several “decisive and extraordinary” measures to tackle the virus.
The government and army have dispatched medical experts to hard-hit Wuhan and imposed a lockdown in the city, he added. A new hospital that can treat 2,300 patients was also recently built and has started operation.
Moreover, the finance ministry has allocated 4.4 billion yuan to help in preventing the spread of the virus, continued the ambassador. Daily news conference are held to keep the public up to date on the latest developments in fighting the coronavirus.
Chen cited China’s record in combating and containing pandemics in the past, such as SARS and the H1N1 virus, stressing: “We have the expertise to eradicate the new coronavirus.”
China’s government has demonstrated strong leadership, taken decisive measures and cooperated openly and transparently with the world in fighting the coronavirus, stated the envoy.
He hoped that China’s message is clear to the world and that is that the virus can be prevented, contained and treated.
The Chinese government and people have the complete ability, determination and trust in winning the battle against this virus, he declared.
Moreover, he downplayed concerns over the outbreak’s impact on China’s economy, saying it will not affect the internal dynamism of the economy and its strong market capabilities.
He acknowledged, however, that it would be difficult to accurately assess the impact the outbreak will have on the global and Chinese economy.
It is unlikely to have a long-term effect, Chen remarked.
The new coronavirus has killed 361 people as of Sunday and infected more than 17,000.
The flu-like virus emerged late last year in the central city of Wuhan, where it is believed to have originated in a market illegally trading in wildlife.
Since then, the virus has been declared a global emergency and spread to more than two dozen other countries and regions, with the first death outside of China reported on Sunday, that of a 44-year-old Chinese man who died in the Philippines after traveling from Wuhan.