China and Pacific Island Countries Health Experts Held a Video Conference on COVID-19

On March 10, China and Pacific island countries held a video conference to share experience and information on fighting COVID-19, bringing together officials from Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Health Commission, Chinese health and epidemiological experts, and officials and health experts from 10 Pacific island countries, namely, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands and Niue. Mr. Russel Tamata, Director of Planning, Policy and Corporate Services of Vanuatu Ministry of Health and Information Manager for the National Novel Coronavirus Taskforce, Dr. Tony J. Harry, Medical Superintendent of Vila Central Hospital and other VCH doctors attended the conference at the Chinese Embassy in Port Vila.

The Chinese side briefed on the latest developments in relation to China’s fight against COVID-19, saying that President Xi Jinping personally commands and deploys the epidemic prevention and control efforts and the situation is increasingly trending in a positive direction, with production and normal life gradually resumed in China. President Xi is now in Wuhan, Hubei Province, the epicenter of the epidemic for an inspection on the prevention and control work. China has full confidence, capability and determination to win the battle against the epidemic. Meanwhile, China is working hard to achieve this year's socio-economic development goals. Upholding the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, China has been actively engaged in international cooperation in an open, transparent and highly responsible manner. China and Pacific island countries are both developing countries. China relates to the special difficulties Pacific island countries are facing in their response to COVID-19 and has promptly briefed relevant countries on related information, and taken strong measures to safeguard the health and safety of foreign nationals and international students in China from Pacific island countries. China wishes to join hands with Pacific island countries to step up information sharing, deepen cooperation on epidemic prevention, work in the spirit of solidarity and mutual assistance to break through the current difficulties, and protect regional and global public health security. China stands ready to provide necessary support and assistance within its means to Pacific island countries in their epidemic prevention and control efforts as the situation evolves.

Professor Wu Zunyou, Chief Epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Professor Wang Guiqiang, Chairman of the Department of Infectious Diseases of Peking University First Hospital briefed on the etiology, routes of transmission, epidemiological developments, China’s response and clinical treatment and answered dozens of questions regarding the viral information, protective measures for medical staff, targeted prevention and control, port of entry screening and quarantine, therapeutic solutions and vaccine development.

Officials and experts from Pacific island countries praised China’s outstanding achievements in fighting COVID-19 and major contributions to the global public health security, saying that China’s experience has set up a high standard and a good model for Pacific island countries in their response to the epidemic. By personally going to Wuhan, President Xi Jinping effectively boosted the moral and confidence of the Chinese people to overcome the disease and sent a positive signal to the international community that the epidemic will surely be contained. They expressed deep appreciation for China’s initiative to hold the video conference and share China’s experience, which they believe has provided timely and helpful information for the work in their respective countries. They added that virus respects no borders and friendship withstands the test of time. As China’s good brothers and good partners, Pacific islands countries look forward to enhancing cooperation with China in epidemic prevention and control and triumphing over COVID-19 together.

Prior to the conference, H.E. Zhou Haicheng, Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu met with Mr. Russel Tamata and other Vanuatu participants. Zhou appreciated Vanuatu’s valuable support to China during the fight against COVID-19 and said that all countries, with their interests closely intertwined, are in a community with a shared future. China is ready to deepen exchanges and cooperation with other countries including Vanuatu to overcome the epidemic, said Zhou.

Tamata expressed his thanks for the Chinese side to hold the video conference and share China’s experience in curbing COVID-19. He highly appreciated the strong efforts made by the Chinese government and people to fight against the epidemic and said Vanuatu is pleased to see China is bringing its epidemic under control. Vanuatu looks forward to strengthening bilateral health cooperation and defeating the disease together with China, Tamata added.

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