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【COVID-19】持之以恒必能打赢抗疫之战 - 2020-03-09

 

Chen Hong
The COVID-19 emergency has reached a pivotal juncture. The recent trajectory of the new cases of infection outside the province of Hubei on a stable decline heralds the imminence of the long awaited turning point of the coronavirus outbreak, which has brought an existential crisis to China, and later to the rest of the world since December 2019.
The novel coronavirus outbreak is both a black swan phenomenon, initially taking the authorities, the health professionals and the people by surprise, and also a grey rhino affair, a latent threat that has been lurking to menace the safety of the public and the nation.
This severe emergency has been much more than an issue of public health. It has actually assayed the integrity and functionality of China’s system of crisis response and management, and has tested the nation’s endurance in the face of an overwhelming challenge to its governance, economy and society.
There are valuable lessons to draw from the devastating epidemic outbreak at the turn of the years. Illicit trade of wildlife needs to be unyieldingly put to an end. There should be a drastic overhaul of the public emergency response system at both the national and provincial levels to avoid indecisiveness and low efficiency to sound the alarm and take prompt actions. Accurate information about public exigencies needs to be made public and shared in a timely manner both from top-down and at the grassroots levels, while rumour mongering must be unswervingly clamped down and penalised. A system of public health vigilance must be maintained to ensure the wellbeing of the people and the security of the society.
Meanwhile, the world looks on in awe at the stunning efficacy of China’s speedy mobilisation of all necessary resources on a mammoth scale to combat the epidemic, to the effect of successfully reining in the spread of the virus. The province of Hubei, the epicentre of the epidemic outbreak, with its population of 57 million, was put in effective lockdown for quarantine to stop any internal and outward infection. Racing against time, two brand new hospitals with the state of art technology and medical equipment specifically designed for treatment of contagious diseases were completed within 10 days, successfully mitigating and stabilising the initially dire situation in Wuhan. Moreover, in the rest of the country, screening and temperature taking posts have been instituting a comprehensive communal system to detect any suspected cases, which is accompanied by a rigorous isolation and hospitalisation scheme to quarantine and cure infected patients.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus credited China for releasing information openly and transparently, identifying the pathogen in a record-short time and sharing the DNA data of the virus promptly with the WHO and other countries. He went on to say that behind “China’s speed, China’s scale and China’s efficiency … is the advantage of China’s system”.
On one hand, it takes enormous sacrificial courage for China to bring the whole country and its economy into a semi closure, resulting in a virtual standstill of everyday business for almost two months. By controlling the flow of the human mobility China has effectively minimised the risks of exposure that the rest of the world might suffer.
On the other hand, as the second largest economy in the world, China has the elasticity to withstand and sustain the economic costs. From the very start of the outbreak, some countries overreacted with their imposition of blanket travel restrictions, cutting down business activities and trade volumes which has exacerbated the economic fallout, but China has desisted the negative impacts, persevering to keep the economy sustaining and the society in effective running order.
Day by day, we have witnessed the commendable professionalism, dedication and heroism demonstrated by the numerous medical workers, community volunteers and other members of the society, the silent and selfless heroes who are the exemplar of the fighting spirit of the Chinese people against the virulent threat that is faced with by not only China, but also the whole world. Instead of succumbing to the menace posed by the coronavirus epidemic, China and its 1.4 billion people have the adamant resolve to overcome this unprecedented adversity.
As a matter of fact, China has never been alone in fighting this disease. From the darkest hours at the start of the outbreak till today, people and governments around the world have been offering priceless succour and support. It is actually a global warfare against a common enemy for all the human race in the world.
The year of 2020 started with an unprecedented struggle against the COVID-19 outbreak. But like always throughout the history, China’s back will never be broken. Instead, we have the staunch confidence that with China’s systemic advantages, economic strengths and international collaboration, humanity will ultimately prevail over this egregious disease.
(About the Author: Professor Chen Hong is Executive Director of Asia Pacific Studies Centre, Director of Australian Studies Centre and New Zealand Studies Centre, and Head of Department of English and Department of Translation and Interpreting at East China Normal University in Shanghai. He is also Executive Vice President of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies, Editor-in-Chief of Blue Book of China Australia Relations and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Chinese Journal of Australian Studies, The Journal of Studies of Australian Culture. Chen Hong’s research interests include international politics and diplomacy, with a particular slant towards studies of Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific. Professor Chen Hong is a regular commentator on international and public issues in major Chinese and international media outlets including China Global Television Network (CGTN), Phoenix Television, Xinhua News Agency, China Radio International (CRI), China News Service, China Daily, Global Times, Wenhui Daily, Liberation Daily, Beijing News, Shanghai Morning Post, Xinmin Evening News, The ABC (Australia), The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age, South China Morning Post, Sputnik News Agency (Russia), WION Television (India), etc.)
 

 


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