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Latest briefing on the Epidemic of 2019-nCoV
(11 Feb. 2020, Spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in Namibia)

The Chinese Government and people are making all-out efforts on epidemic control, and the situation is improving. President Xi Jinping made it very clear that the Chinese government always places people’s life, security and health above anything else. The whole country is making all-encompassing efforts on mobilization and deployment for epidemic control.Thanks to our joint efforts, China's new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia outside Hubei Province, the epicenter of the outbreak, has been dropping for six consecutive days. A total of 444 new confirmed cases were reported on 9 February outside Hubei, a drop of more than 50% compared with the number on 3 February.

Actually, The case-fatality of the Epidemic of 2019-nCoV is 2%, far lower than the other epidemics, and lower than the 17.4 case-fatality rate of the H1N1 ourbreak in the US in 2009. The case-fatality rate in Chinese provinces and cities other than Wuhan is merely 0.8%, even lower than that of ordinary pneumonia. By comparing the data, it is better to put things in perspective and have an objective and accurate analysis of the situation.

China is not fighting alone in this battle. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros applauded the strong and effective measures China has taken and expressed confidence in the ability of the Chinese government to control the outbreak. Up to now, Leaders of 61 countries as well as heads of 8 international organizations including the World Bank and Namibia, wrote letters to President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and other members of the Chinese leadership to express solidarity and support. Many foreign governments and friends provided urgently needed protective suits, medical masks and safety goggles. China will always remember the sympathy and support given to us in this battle. The outbreak is just temporary, but friendship and cooperation are forever.

After the outbreak, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros said that at present, the safest way for foreigners in Wuhan is to stay in Wuhan. He has cautioned against hasty movement as it will add more uncertainties. Now confirmed cases have been detected among some foreign evacuees, which increase the risk of further spread. Now, only a few countries have done repatriation, and the majority can understand the opinion and suggestion of Chinese Government.

I know that the people of Namibia are very concerned about the safety of Namibian citizens in China. During this hard combat, China not only cares for its own people, but also take serious consideration to protect the health and legitimate interests of foreigners living in China. The Chinese government has promised to treat the safety and health of foreign citizens living in China in the same way as its own citizens. We keep our promises.

Recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and other institutions of the Chinese government is doing its best to protect foreigners in China against the 2019-nCoV. We hold briefing about the latest situation of 2019-nCoV at central and provincial government level and answered questions raised by consulate offices from different countries, which was highly appreciated by the local foreigners. A lot of local governments released public letters to the local foreigners, informing them about how to prevent coronavirus, the requirements and designated hospitals and urge them to do self-protection. Many provinces also use website, weChat, Weibo, emails, note verbals and so on to release such information and set up 24 hours hotlines in multi-language to deal with consultation and seeking help cases of foreigners. As we know about 40 universities and colleges in Hubei has opened 24 hours hotlines to provide services for foreign students.

We also attach great importance and try our best to assist foreign patients to receive proper medical treatment. As of 10 February, there are 27 foreign patients who were confirmed to be infected. 3 of them have been cured, 2 died and the other 22 are in stable conditions. Up to now, none of Namibia citizens has been infected.

It is understandable that some countries have taken necessary and appropriate prevention measures. But we oppose political manipulation of the situation and disapprove of measures out proportion. Dr. Tedros of WHO said that the extreme trade or travel restriction measures taken by a few countries may increase the feeling of fear and stigma and does no good to public health. He urged relevant parties to ensure that relevant measures are temporary, commensurate with public health risks and make adjustments according to the evolving of the situation. We hope countries will respect and follow the recommendation of WHO and its Director General. It is not the time to adopt beggar-thy-neighbor approach but to jointly respond to the challenge.

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