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H.E. Shi Ting WANG Gave an Exclusive Interview to the Daily Graphic on the Epidemic of COVID-19

On 24 March, H.E. Shi Ting WANG, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, gave an exclusive interview to the Daily Graphic’s Doreen Andoh (DA) on the epidemic of COVID-19. Here is the full transcript of the interview:

DA: Did the COVID-19 originated from China?

Ambassador WANG: As to the origin of the virus, it is a matter of science which requires scientific and professional assessment, and we should wait for findings of the science community. Although the COVID-19 first outbroke massively in China, it does not mean that the origin of the virus is China. The WHO says that it is still yet to be concluded. Considering all this, jumping to conclusion that the virus originated from China is politically motivated, which won't help any country and will only cause panic and discrimination.

DA: Since COVID-19 first outbroke in China, should China be responsible for the global pandemic?

Ambassador WANG: First of all, I’d like to say that not only should China not be responsible for the global pandemic, but China has made great contribution to the interrupter in transmission. COVID-19 respects no national borders, no social bounds, no political systems and no cultural values. It levels the world. Requesting one country to take all responsibility for the common enemy of mankind is not only something never heard before, but also highly irresponsible. Since the very beginning of the outbreak, China has taken the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures of prevention and control to fight an all-out war against the epidemic. We took speedy action to lock down the cities and communities, and rapidly quarantined all the confirmed and suspect cases. The 1.4 billion Chinese people responded the government’s call and stayed housebound for at least 3 weeks and even longer. How great the courage and perseverance is to make such a huge sacrifice! The Chinese people do not step out of their home, not mention the country, which effectively cut off the chain of transmission. As most of the Chinese people viewed the quarantine as a civic duty, however, some countries accused China’s response as “draconian” and “aggressive” at the beginning of the outbreak. When the health of millions of people is threatened, we must take practical and rigorous measures for the good of majority and all mankind. Actually, China, on one hand avoided many millions of cases and tens of thousands of deaths. On the other, it stretched out the precious time for the world to get ready for the epidemic.

DA: Some people called the coronavirus “Chinese Virus”. I wonder if you have any comment?

Ambassador WANG: Some political figures have recently been connecting the coronavirus with China. We express strong indignation and objection to such stigmatization and politicization. In May 2015, The WHO issued best practice for naming new human infectious diseases which expressed that terms should be avoided in disease names include geographic locations. The WHO opposed the intentional linkage of virus and specific countries or regions, and the international community is even opposed to stigmatization. In 2009, the H1N1 outbreak was first detected in North America, but we didn’t call the epidemic a “North America Flu”. The deep purpose for these political figures who rename COVID-19 racially is to pass the buck and divert internal contradictions. I would like to remind you that whenever our mankind faced a common challenge, there was always such “blame game”. And the hatred and recriminations it aroused would sow the seeds of danger for international community. We hope everyone of us could respond to the epidemic in a rational way, stop the “blame game” and work together to win the battle against COVID-19.

DA: Have you seen the WhatsApp video claiming China killed more than 20,000 coronavirus infected people so as to curb the epidemic and Chinese policemen shot the infected people on street? Perhaps you could give some explanations and educate my people with the truth.

Ambassador WANG: This is totally ridiculous! Anyone who has common sense will not believe this outright lie. This false news is not worth refute. The one who spread this lie is with concealed and malicious intentions. This video took advantage of people’s fear of the virus and bias of China. It is just a conspiracy theory which makes trouble out of nothing. The purpose is to stigmatize China. If anyone knows something about China, he or she will never believe this falsehood. There are tens of thousands of Ghanaian in China, but none them infected, nor anyone died of COVID-19. It is not because the infected were killed, but they are well taken care of and protected in China. I don't know who fabricated this false video but I am sure that they are more dangerous than the virus.

DA: Now there are more than 1000 confirmed cases in Africa and Ghana has 19 confirmed cases. Are there any cases imported from China?

Ambassador WANG: As far as I know, among the more than 1,000 confirmed cases in Africa, only one case is from China and unfortunately, the one is in Ghana. The rest of cases are from other countries. This once again proves that: first, China’s prevention and control measures are highly effective; second, China effectively cuts off the chain of transmission and stretches out the precious time for other countries to get ready for the epidemic. Therefore, we should neither treat the Chinese people in bias, nor be panic. For now, China is the safest country in the world. In the nation of 1.4 billion people, there were no new reports of domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases for several days, but just few cases imported from abroad.

DA: How would China help Ghana to fight against the COVID-19?

Ambassador WANG: There is only one earth, we are the community with shared future, we are a big family. Up to now, China has provided anti-epidemic assistance to more than one hundred countries in different forms. Because Europe are hit the hardest, we sent medical teams to some European countries and donated a large number of medical supplies there. The Chinese government has announced to provide emergency anti-epidemic supplies to Africa through air transportation, including Ghana. Meanwhile, Jack Ma is donating each of the 54 African nations 100,000 masks, 1,000 medical use protective suits, 1,000 face shields, and 20,000 testing kits, which in total, 6 million masks, 1.1 million test kits, 60,000 medical use protective suits and 60,000 face shields. The Chinese Embassy in Ghana is urgently coordinating the shipping of the supplies donated by the Chinese government. Because most of the airlines have suspended air service, we are facing a huge challenge on transportation arrangement now. But we will do our best. In addition to the material support, we are ready to share guideline on COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment as well as guidelines on prevention and control, ramp up medical cooperation, and etc.

DA: What’s your comment on the response of the Ghanaian government to COVID-19?

Ambassador WANG: The Ghanaian government has done a commendable job in the response of the virus. The Ghanaian government had adopted a series of measures before the first case confirmed, such as setting aside special funds, designating hospitals and institutions for diagnosis and treatment, educating the people on hygiene and prepare the medical supplies. Since Ghana reported the first confirmed case, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana, has delivered televised statements for several times and promptly briefed the public on the situation, and quickly took various decisive measures, diagnosed and treated the confirmed and suspect cases without delay. The measures slowed down the spread of epidemic effectively which are laudable and we would like to express our support. We hope that Ghana could win the battle against the COVID-19 as soon as possible, and we are confident of that.

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